5 Clips from ENDGAME – Premiered at Sundance

     January 21, 2009

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

One of the movies I was looking forward to seeing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was director Peter Travis’ “Endgame”. The movie was based on “The Fall of Apartheid” by Robert Harvey.

Peter’s last movie was the surprise hit “Vantage Point” and I was curious to see his follow up. Also, rather than making another Hollywood studio film, he decided to go back to his indie roots and make a movie about the ending of apartheid in South Africa.

Anyway, I managed to see the film yesterday and have to say…it definitely doesn’t look like an indie movie. Not only did the film shoot on location in both the United Kingdom and South Africa, it featured some well done action scenes and it looked like a glossy Hollywood movie. Of course it helped that Peter got William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mark Strong, and Jonny Lee Miller to star.

For those that don’t know, in the late 1980’s, South Africa was still dealing with apartheid. The white minority held all the power and groups like the ANC (African National Congress) were fighting to try and not only gain a foothold in government; but to get Nelson Mandela out of prison. Unfortunately, both groups were using violence as a tactic and many civilians were killed as casualties of the conflict.

In summary, it was a very dark time in South Africa and there was no end in sight.

But while most assumed the conflict would never end, Michael Young, an employee of Consolidated Gold in Britain, initiated private talks between the ANC and a select group of South African people like Willie Esterhuyse, a philosophy professor. The talks were done under the cloak of extreme secrecy, but that didn’t stop many from finding out about what was going on and trying to stop it. Over the course many months, the sides found ways to not only work together, but to provide peace to the country.

It’s a fascinating story and one I knew nothing about going in.

As of this posting, the film hasn’t yet been sold for domestic distribution, but with the cast involved and the quality of the movie, I’d imagine it’ll definitely find release at some point in the future.

So until then… I’ve got five clips you can watch. The only thing to know is…the clips look like they were made from a PAL version so they don’t exactly look right. They’re watchable…but everything looks a bit weird.

And one last thing, below the clips is the official synopsis of “Endgame”, for those that want to read it.

Clip1 – The phone booth

Clip 2 – At the door

Clip 3 – Walking and talking

Clip 4 – Arguments at the table

Clip 5 – When you first saw me did you think

South Africa…the late 1980s. The African National Congress (ANC) wages an armed struggle against apartheid; President P.W. Botha clings to the last threads of power; the country is on the brink of bloody insurrection. In a gripping thriller based on real-life events, Endgame drops us into this brutal conflict’s control centers: Nelson Mandela’s prison, Botha’s chambers, ANC headquarters, and, to our surprise, the rented car of a British bureaucrat. It turns out that Consolidated Gold, a British mining concern, convinced that peaceful resolution in South Africa serves their interests, has initiated covert, unofficial talks between opposing sides. Brilliantly building suspense befitting the situation’s high stakes, Endgame chronicles this dangerous mission, where Michael Young, Consolidated’s head of public affairs, doggedly assembles a reluctant, yet impressive, crew to confront intractable obstacles in the way of reconciliation.

ANC leader Thabo Mbeki and Afrikaner philosophy professor Willie Esterhuyse are chief among them. Zeroing in on the growing emotional empathy between Mbeki and Esterhuyse, which becomes the linchpin for the talks, this enormously moving story dramatizes the way that meticulous strategies, combined with serendipity, finally unlock change. While Mandela endures house arrest, terrorist bombs threaten the dialogue, and Botha’s regime gives way to F.W. de Klerk’s leadership, an unlikely cadre, secreted in a distant British manor, pave the way to black South African freedom and form a template for peace negotiations around the world.

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