‘The State Against Mandela and the Others’ Review: Nelson Mandela Documentary Corrects Oversight in Biopics — Cannes 2018

1 June 2018


The State Against Madela 289

The life of iconic activist and South African president Nelson Mandela is the subject of multiple features, including “Invictus,” “Mandela,” and Idris Elba’s criminally underrated turn in Justin Chadwick’s “Long Walk to Freedom.” However, when these narratives detailed the trial that convicted him of treason, the nine other defendants hardly rated a footnote. A nonfiction feature, “The State Against Mandela and the Others,” bridges that gap.

While Mandela led South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement here his lesser-known co-defendants take center stage. Directors Nicolas Champeaux and Gilles Porte’s documentary is the most in-depth examination of the Mandela’s trial, rolling back the veil of secrecy to reveal the day-to-day courtroom testimony.

Based on 280 hours of sound archives from Mandela’s trial with nine other men between 1963 and 1964, “The State Against Mandela” utilizes fresh techniques and technology to chronicle everything from the arrest to the indictment and eventual sentencing. However, audiences may find the filmmakers’ approach more compelling than the film itself. Read the full review on Indiewire here.