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French director Pascale Lamche’s Sundance award winner outlines the life and work of legendary activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela – and allows her to deliver her side of a disputed history. Nelson Mandela was often perceived as a saint, even by the regime he opposed. Winnie, who was married to him for 38 years and furthered his agenda in a violent outside world during his 27 years of incarceration, was almost as readily demonised. Lamche’s film makes telling use of archival clips, not least Winnie Mandela’s fractious engagement with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and her breathtaking denunciation by Bishop Desmond Tutu. Interviews with diplomat daughter Zindzi, biographers, journalists and lawyers make it abundantly clear how she became such a formidable fighter, still going strong at 80.
“It might be apparent where the film’s sympathies reside, but Winnie is by no means a simple or straightforward missive of support. Lamche’s efforts to unravel not only the tale at hand but also the reasoning behind the many conflicting views surrounding her subject – and the ripples both leave in the country today – are deftly handled.” — Sarah Ward, Screendaily