dijous, 31 de desembre de 2009

Crítica de "Invictus" de Clint Eastwood

Os dejo la crítica del New York Times y el trailer de la película.
Estoy ansioso por verla.

Final Score: Future 1, Past 0


Published: December 11, 2009

It may not seem obvious at first, but Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus,” a rousing true story of athletic triumph, is also that director’s latest exploration of revenge, the defining theme of his career. It is hard to think of an actor or a filmmaker who so cleanly embodies a single human impulse in the way that Mr. Eastwood — from “Pale Rider” to “Mystic River,” from Dirty Harry to “Gran Torino” — personifies the urge to get even.

He has also, of course, taken a critical view of the drive for vengeance, investigating its tragic roots and terrible consequences. A movie like “Unforgiven,” most famously, suggests that violent revenge is regrettable. But rarely, in the world of Mr. Eastwood’s films, is it avoidable.
“Invictus” is to some degree an exception, a movie about reconciliation and forgiveness — about the opposite of revenge — that gains moral authority precisely because the possibility of bloodshed casts its shadow everywhere. The film, based on John Carlin’s book “Playing the Enemy,” takes place in South Africa in the mid-1990s, just after Nelson Mandela’s election as the country’s first black president. Many of the whites in the film — most of them Afrikaner nationalists still attached to a system that kept their black compatriots poor, disenfranchised and oppressed — brace themselves for payback as Mandela assumes power. Quite a few of the president’s black supporters expect it, too, as their due after decades of brutality and humiliation under apartheid.

But Mandela, played with gravity, grace and a crucial spark of mischief by Morgan Freeman, knows that score-settling would be a disastrous course for a new and fragile democracy. Passing by a newsstand on the morning after his victory, he spots a headline in Afrikaans. He has shown that he can win an election, it says, but will he show that he can govern? His bodyguards bristle at a pre-emptive low blow from a hostile press, but Mandela shrugs. “It’s a fair question,” he says.

And a perennially urgent one in any democracy. Mr. Eastwood and the screenwriter, Anthony Peckham, are too absorbed in the details of the story at hand to suggest historical analogies, but “Invictus” has implications beyond its immediate time and place that are hard to miss. It’s an exciting sports movie, an inspiring tale of prejudice overcome and, above all, a fascinating study of political leadership.

But much of the ingenuity in Mr. Freeman’s performance lies in the way he conveys that idealism and the shrewd manipulation of symbols and emotions are not incompatible, but complementary. Taking power a few years after being released from 27 years of incarceration, Mandela is already a larger-than-life figure, an idol in South Africa and around the world. His celebrity is something of a burden, and also an asset he must learn to use; his moral prestige is a political weapon.

But he is preoccupied, to the dismay of loyalists in his movement, with finding some kind of concord — not friendship, necessarily, but at least a state of non-enmity — with the people who hate and fear him: the whites who see him as a terrorist, a usurper and a threat to their traditions and values. Mandela’s overtures to the Afrikaners — starting with his refusal to dismiss white members of the presidential staff and security detail — arise partly out of Gandhian principle, and partly out of political calculation. They are a powerful force in the army, the police and the South African economy.

Mandela’s aides — in particular Brenda Mazibuko (Adjoa Andoh) — are baffled when he takes up the cause of the South African rugby team, a symbol of stiff-necked Afrikaner pride despised by most blacks. The team’s Springbok mascot, named for a kind of gazelle, and its green-and-gold uniforms are nearly as loathsome as the apartheid flag, and when Mandela insists that the colors be retained, it seems almost like a betrayal of his life’s cause. South Africa, a pariah in the world of international sports for a long time (“the skunk of the world,” as Mandela puts it), is preparing to host the Rugby World Cup, and Mandela decides that if the nation is to find unity and self-respect the underachieving Springboks must win the championship.

And so an alliance develops between the president and François Pienaar, the Springbok captain, played with crisp, disciplined understatement (and utter mastery of a devilishly tricky accent) by Matt Damon. Pienaar’s struggle to keep control of his team, and also to persuade them to accept some perplexing new social realities, is a microcosm of Mandela’s larger project. And he quietly accepts Mandela, who shares with Pienaar the Victorian poem that gives the movie its title, as a mentor.

Beyond the politician, Mr. Freeman and Mr. Eastwood allow us glimpses of a complicated and somewhat melancholy man, carrying the loneliness of his long imprisonment with him and estranged from much of his family. He is gracious and charming in small groups, a stiff but compelling public speaker and a boss whose authority is buttressed by a phalanx of devoted, sometimes skeptical aides.

But if “Invictus” is predominantly an absorbing character study of one of the most extraordinary characters of our time, it is also fleshed out with well-sketched minor players and subplots that illuminate the progress of racial rapprochement in its comic human dimension. The black bodyguards and their white colleagues proceed from hostility to wary tolerance to guarded warmth in a way that is pointed without being overstated. And that, for the most part, characterizes Mr. Eastwood’s direction, which is always unassuming, unhurried and efficient. In this film he tells a big story through a series of small, well-observed moments, and tells it in his usual blunt, matter-of-fact way, letting the nuances take care of themselves.

And once again, as in “Letters From Iwo Jima” — a tragic rather than heroic inquiry into the nature of leadership — they do. “Invictus” is more sprawling than that film, and more willing to risk hokiness. That is a chance Mr. Eastwood is often happy to take, and no genre is more susceptible to it (or earns it more honestly) than the victorious-underdog team-sports movie. That the sport is as alien to most Americans as it is to black South Africans presents its challenges, but by the end you might care about rugby more than you thought you would, even if it remains harder to understand than politics.

The convergence of the two provides an occasion for some potent, intelligent filmmaking — a movie that hits you squarely with its visceral impact and stays in your mind for a long time after.
“Invictus” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has some swearing, the threat of violence and brutal sports action.


Directed by Clint Eastwood; written by Anthony Peckham, based on the book “Playing the Enemy” by John Carlin; director of photography, Tom Stern; edited by Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach; music by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens; production designer, James J. Murakami; produced by Mr. Eastwood, Lori McCreary, Robert Lorenz and Mace Neufeld; released by Warner Brothers Pictures. Running time: 2 hours 14 minutes. WITH: Morgan Freeman (Nelson Mandela), Matt Damon (François Pienaar) and Adjoa Andoh (Brenda Mazibuko).

dimecres, 23 de desembre de 2009

Anécdotas del Mundo del Rugby

En el blog del Editor de Scrum tenemos algunos vídeos y anécdotas del mundo del rugby, os pego alguna. Están en inglés, así que también practicamos la lengua de Joyce o Shakespeare.

Lost in translation
"I was busy trying to tell him [the referee] that I was waiting for the kicking tee but my pronunciation was marginally out because I was, in fact, telling him that I wanted a cup of tea."
Toulon’s England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson gets to grips with life in France.

The aftershave incident
England's Cornish prop Colin Smart will forever be remembers in rugby circles as theman who drank a bottle of aftershave at an after-match dinner. The incident took place in Paris, following an internationa, and was sparked off by the English players each being presented with a bottle of aftershave s a gift from their hosts. Some surreptitiously emptied their bottles and filled them up again with water. Smart, unaware of what theyhad done, was then challenged to down his bottle quick than others.
Sadly the practical joke almost had tragic consequences. Smart rapidly became ill and had to be rushed to hospital to have his sotmach pumped. Still. it has caused much mirth since and has certainly given Smart more than his 15 minutes of fame. After a fine win over Wales a month later, England scrum-hlf Steve Smith quipped, "The aftershave will sure taste good tonight!".

The player drain
In recent times players have been following the riches available in Europe, but it’s not often that they have revealed how a prospective move affected their family. Ex-Cardiff Blues fly-half Nick Robinson did just that before leaving for Gloucester.
"My mother is devastated at the news as all three sons will be leaving next season. I'll be moving to Gloucester, Jamie's moving to France and my younger brother is hoping to go away to University. But on a positive note it frees up her weekends."

Quote Unquote
Flattery will get you nowhere apparently, so why not stick the boot in. Here’s Martin Johnson explaining a helpful text he received from a friend after handing Courtney Lawes his England Test debut.
"Someone text me saying he's a bit like I used to be, but more athletic, funnier and better looking."

Quote Unquote
The ELVs had a lot of detractors – chief among them Leicester and England hooker George Chuter.
"I was disappointed that some of the [Experimental Law Variation] suggestions I emailed to the IRB appear not to have been considered worthy of even a trial in the Welsh fourth division. These include scrums instead of kick-offs, scrums instead of lineouts, scrums instead of backs moves and the outlawing of any hair product. I don't know where our game is heading but I'm sure it's going to be a place that doesn't welcome fat, slow old people with no hair. I'll get my coat."

Quote Unquote
"Sorry for missing that penalty kick - I don't know what went wrong - it was such an easy shot. I could kick myself.""I shouldn't bother - you'd probably miss!"
Conversation between Scotland's Gavin Hastings and his captain David Sole after his fullback had missed an easy penalty in the 1991 Rugby World Cup semi-final clash with England at Twickenham. The scores were locked a 6-6 at the time and England's Rob Andrew eventually dropped a goal to seal his side's final berth.

dilluns, 21 de desembre de 2009

Para todos

Para los de derechas, de izquierdas, de arriba, de abajo, del centro, de la playa, de mar, de montaña, enfermos, curados, sanos, incurables, tristes, alegres, perros, gatos, altos, bajos. Para todos. La historia se mueve, el mundo se mueve, las cosas cambian, a mejor o a peor, siempre depende del cristal. No tengamos miedo, afrontemos el futuro como otros supieron afrontar su presente.

El video es una gentileza encontrada en El Tornaviaje.