Hollywood and South Africa
Riam Malan on 'Invictus'. He clearly hates the screenwriter but is surprisingly generous about the film - he liked it. His piece contains one of the funniest lines I've ever read about Hollywood's take on politics [emphasis mine]:
It was a great, syrupy myth conjured up by sentimental American liberals, who insisted on seeing the South African struggle as a rerun of their own Civil Rights movement. There were no Communists in this sweet tableau, no bloody revolutionary excesses. The African National Congress was inevitably depicted as an army of hymn-singing Uncle Toms, initially led by English-speaking clerics who just wanted a smidgen of justice and dignity. Then the prison doors swung open and into the spotlight stepped Nelson Mandela, instantly dwarfing Martin Luther King and Bill Cosby in the American pantheon of seriously nice black guys.
It’s usually pleasing to see a fellow hack score a movie deal, but I was horrified to hear that Hollywood was planning to turn Carlin’s book about the 1995 Rugby World Cup into a motion picture. I once lived in Hollywood, under the D in the famous hillside sign. I know that town and its sentimental proclivities. The best line ever uttered about Hollywood was penned by film critic, Joe Morgenstern, in an essay pondering Gandhi’s multiple triumphs at the 1983 Oscars. Why, asked Morgenstern, had the greedy, arrogant and ego-bloated members of the Academy voted en masse for Attenborough’s movie about an Indian ascetic? “Gandhi was everything Hollywood moguls long to be but aren’t,” Morgenstern explained. “Thin, tan and moral.”