Good, because today The Lobby decided to embark on a totally different subject.

“Invictus” – An obscure title for a movie about South Africa after Apartheid. Yet, this was my choice this weekend for my usual lazy Sundays’ cinema (I’m trying to make sure that at the end of the month my UGC unlimited card made some economic sense!)

For a change, I decided to go and see an historical drama, one that is bold enough to feature the larger-than-life iconic figure of Nelson Mandela. This is always a potential risk, but one that Clint Eastwood, who directed the movie, overcame in my view by presenting a story which is not about individuals: this movie is about the psyche of an entire nation.

The future manager of the EU football team? © European Communities, 2009

The pitch: Mandela hits upon an ambitious plan to use the national rugby team – the Springboks, long an embodiment of white supremacist rule – to symbolise the new South Africa as the team prepares to host the 1995 World Cup.

Reviews have been lukewarm, gently slating the movie for its political correctness, but in my opinion this flashback on the post-Apartheid era, narrated through the prism of rugby, is a great way to grasp the emotional temperature of a country with a very unique history.

Yes, Eastwood could have done better in trying to keep away from the Hollywood melodramatic clichés, but the match scenes, Morgan Freeman’s performance, and Matt Damon’s body, chiseled into pure muscle, are dazzling!

As I was walking home, thinking that this story is further proof of the unifying power of sport, I wondered if the new EU Sports Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou will one day come up with a proposal for an EU rugby or football team, which would capture the imagination of all Europeans who would paint the EU flag on their faces…

– Delphine

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