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Amandla! 2002

PG-13 CC
4.8 out of 5 stars (50) IMDb 7.4/10

Interviews, archival footage, and filmed performances highlight the role of music in the South African struggle against apartheid.

Starring:
Walter Cronkite, F.W. de Klerk
Runtime:
1 hour, 43 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Music, Documentary
Director Lee Hirsch
Starring Walter Cronkite, F.W. de Klerk
Supporting actors Abdullah Ibrahim, Jesse Jackson, Duma Ka Ndlovu, Ronnie Kasrils, Sibongile Khumalo, Vusi Mahlasela, Miriam Makeba, Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, Hugh Masekela, Sophie Mgcina, Thandi Modise, Sifiso Ntuli, Sibusiso Nxumalo, Dolly Rathebe, Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, Lindiwe Zulu
Studio Lionsgate
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an excellent history of the role of music in the anti-aparthied struggle of S/A. Familiar greats like Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masakela are covered as well as interesting lost history such as the tale of Vuyisile Mini (who was hanged in 1964 for fight-the power songs such as "Beware Voeword.").

For the most part, these are not "We Shall Overcome" or "Kum by Ya" type of anthems (though that's cool in it's place). This is hardcore, fight-the power, we ain't gonna take it type of music. Sibongile Kumalo's song about the struggle near the end of the film will bring tears to your eyes-first for the beauty of her voice and THEN when you read the translation! The sequences of the Toyi-toyi (the war dance of S/A) are inspirational and revealing, as is this DVD itself.

Moving scenes abound. A picture is shown of a beautiful S/A teenager sitting prettily on a sofa, then the camera pulls back to reveal that she has a machine gun next to her. One young lady, crying at the funeral of a comrade in the midst of the struggle cries, "I wish I were a dog! I wish I were cattle grazing in the grass!" If you can watch scenes like that with a dry eye then something is WRONG with you!

We also have some extra-rare footage of the young Nelson Mandela (in 1961, prior to his imprisonment) telling of his views on the choice of violence or nonviolence. There is also footage of his sentancing in 1964 and his eventual release. The scenes of his dancing in celebration are a sight to behold!

But enough of this. Get it and see and hear the power that music has over the human spirit! I'd give it ten stars!
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Format: DVD
Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony, was directed by Lee Hirsch, who sold all his possessions and dropped out of college to make the film. That's the level of commitment and passion exhibited by the creators, but it has nothing on the people starring in this documentary, which focuses on the role music and dance played in the downfall of the Apartheid system in South Africa. I cried at the atrocities committed by the government, and nearly danced for joy myself near the end when Nelson Mandela was shown finally released from prison. The most inspiring aspect of the music in this film is that despite the suffering, there isn't a single "sad" song to be found. The soundtrack is unbelievable, featuring performances and interviews by dynamic and influential artists/activists such as Miriam Makeba, Vusi Mahlasela, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Hugh Masekela.
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Format: DVD
We've all heard cliches about the power of music but this is an amazingly moving film about the real power of music. The movie, shot on a handycam by Lee Hirsch travels through five decades of music and activism in South Africa's history. By looking at the key songs and the men associated with each phase of the struggle, Hirsch does a great job of bringing to life the sheer horror and brutality of everyday life under apartheid. But he also manages to capture the hopes of the revolutionaries through a series of moving and poignant interviews. What struck me about many of the interviews was how spontaneously these activists would break into song to recount their experience. By providing minimal commentary and by letting the songs and men who sang them do the talking, Hirsch has created a masterpiece.

Apart from chronicling the history of the movement, Hirsch also chronicles the lives of many of the activists that the world has forgotten today. The movie opens with the exhumation of Mini's grave to the soulful voice of Vusi Mahlasela. One by one, Hirsch also exhumes heroes and heroines of South Africa's past, particularly musicians, who live only through their songs, and tries to give them their place in the anti-apartheid struggle.

It is also fascinating that the colour of his skin allows Hirsch to shoot some fascinating footage including those of modern white South Africans nostalgic for an earlier age. Hirsch also allows a deft touch of humour to pervade his work, subtly, without ever being disrespectful to his subjects. One of my favourite scenes is where Rathebe recounts how they would sing revolutionary songs and the whites would look at them and praise them for their melody not realising what the actual lyrics were.
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I am a black West Indian who had been fortunate enough to see this documentary before I bought the DVD....it is fantastic and moving and emotional and awe inspiring! I looked at it thorugh a veil of tears! Every individual alive regardless of race needs to purchase this DVD and take a good long repeated look at this documentary which chronicles the resilience of the human spirit....I felt inspired to stand on principle and proud to be alive after looking at the documentary. It was REAL...Nothing put on for the cameras...the pride the people felt for their songs and for their leaders and the strength to keep up the fight was palpable throughout...Hugh Masakela, Myriam Makeba and the other performers who faced racism and hatred everyday still loved their country and that was obvious throughout...from the travesty that was Aparthied we now fortunately have a glimpse into one aspect of what it took to keep South African victims of apartheid motivated to fight the power! AMANDLA!
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