Rider libraries hosts virtual film screening for “The State Against Mandela and the Others”

By Tori Pender 

The inspirational tale of “The State Against Mandela and the Others” was a part of the Tournées Film Festival, a five-part series hosted by the Rider University Libraries, the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, the Department of Film and Television, the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, the Center of Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and the Mercer County Library. 

“The State Against Mandela and the Others” was hosted by associate professor and librarian Melissa Hofmann and assistant professor and librarian Sharon Whitfield on March 25, at 6:30 p.m.

The series began on Feb. 18 and will continue through April 29. The selected films were all created by French directors and range from documentary to narrative films, all covering a wide array of topics from politics to art. 

The film festival showed “Portrait Of A Lady On Fire,” “The Mystery Of Picasso” and “The Freshmen.” The upcoming films, “Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream” will be shown on Thursday, April 8, at 6:30 p.m. and “Varda By Agnes” on Thursday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m.

This French documentary covered what happened in October 1963, when Nelson Mandela and nine other leaders of the banned African National Congress appeared before the Pretoria High Court in the apartheid state of South Africa. 

Mandela, along with his group of diverse fighters, were accused of sabotage and potentially faced the death penalty. 

The documentary highlighted how Mandela and his companions created a watershed movement against the racial segregation that is still prevalent today in South Africa. 

Karla Lopez-Rosa, a sophomore political science major, attended the screening and was engrossed in the film.  

 “It was an amazing film, and the visual representation and actual testimonies of people that were there during that time were extremely moving. The concept that was explored was definitely interesting and informational. Definitely looking forward to the discussion about this film coming up,” Lopez-Rosa said. 

Hofmann explained how there are moments in the film with an intentional black screen.

“There are no visual images of the trial, but there are 256 hours of audio recording. While watching the documentary, there will be times when all you hear is audio,” Hoffman said. 

The film displayed black and white charcoal drawings, for imagery paired with somber and intense music integrated with documentary-style interview clips.

A follow-up discussion titled “Freedom on Trial: Confronting Civil Disobedience from Apartheid to George Floyd” will take place on April 12, at 7 p.m. and will be hosted by Nicholas McLeod and presented by CDI and the Department of History and Philosophy. 

Caption: The documentary showed how Mandela, along with his group of diverse fighters, were accused of sabotage and potentially faced the death penalty.

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