Movie Director John Irvin discussed his new film ‘Mandela’s Gun’ at the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival.
The film, shows a rarely examined side of Nelson Mandela’s life training as a fighter across Africa where he dodged an assassination attempt before a tip from a CIA spy.
“He’s a dedicated revolutionary. Impetuous, thoughtful, well-educated, well-read – but he’s angry and, maybe reluctantly, he’s taking up arms against a regime which knows no mercy,” said Irvin
Set in the 1960s, the film follows Mandela on trips to various African countries including Ethiopia, in the eight months before his arrest in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. During a trip to Ethiopia, Emperor Haile Selassie gave Mandela a Makarov pistol, which he buried at Lilliesleaf Farm in Rivonia and which subsequently went missing.
“Makarov pistol is the first given weapon of the armed struggle so it has enormous significance, I think, historically. This is the first weapon that was delivered, if you like, to the MK,” said Irvin.
The movie is a combination of a documentary and a feature film, It features an all-South African cast and crew and will include unseen interviews, rare archives and testimonies while using different cinematic styles and techniques to highlight its periodic relevance.
Funding for the film came from private investors, South African government departments, African governments and the SA-UK artistic exchange programme.