‘Winnie’ Doc on PBS

Winnie, a 90-minute documentary about the South African activist and politician, premieres on PBS stations tonight (10 pm ET, but check local listings), goes online starting tomorrow, and hits select movie theaters February 26.

Winnie, shown as part of PBS’s Independent Lens series, features Mandela speaking about her life and her contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle, especially while the movement’s leader – her husband Nelson Mandela – languished in jail for 27 years.

The film also explores how, once apartheid was abolished, she underwent “a roller-coaster ride of fascinating political intrigue as the Mandela marriage [was] torn apart.”

“Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is one of the most misunderstood and intriguing of contemporary female political figures,” PBS noted. “Her rise and seeming fall from grace bear the hallmarks of epic tragedy.”

After tonight’s over-the-air premiere, which anyone can see with a TV antenna, Winnie will be available for streaming at pbs.org/independentlens/films/winnie. The film was written and directed by Pascale Lamche, who also directed a 2004 BBC documentary, Accused #1: Nelson Mandela, about the trial that led to his 1964 imprisonment. That doc is not streaming, but you can get it on DVD for $19.99

For a dramatic interpretation of Winnie Mandela’s life through her husband’s incarceration, you can see her played by Jennifer Hudson (and Nelson by Terrence Howard) in 2011’s Winnie Mandela. That movie can be streamed now with an Urban Movie Channel subscription, or rented from $2.99 at FandangoNow or Vudu.

 

 

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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