Dirs: Carlos Aguilo, Mandy Jacobson. US. 2013. 80mins
A fascinating sideways looks at South African history and the role a commodities trader known simply as ‘Monsieur Jacques’ had on the release of Nelson Mandela and the fall of apartheid, the intriguing documentary Plot For Peace offers some tantalising insights, and following the death of Mandela may be on the radar of niche distributors.
It is a full yet brief film – oddly enough perhaps too short for the amount of information and context the filmmakers are trying to pack in – and as such offers an sketch rather than a full portrait of a quite remarkable man.
The politics of Africa – and South Africa – make for complex viewing at times, and while co-directors Carlos Aguilo and Mandy Jacobson do a great job of keeping their story fresh and tantalising, there is also a sense that there is an awful lot going on behind-the-scenes.
Algerian-born Monsieur Jacques – real name Jean-Yves Olliver – was a child of his home-country’s civil war, and therefore when working in South Africa as a business man in the early 1980s wanted to react to the system there. On one hand he ignored global sanctions, though on the other he was an advisor to Jacque Chirac on African affairs.
He set about machinating a series of shrewd political manoeuvres – such as aiding in negotiations to shift South African troops out of Angola and helping in planning a 1987 prisoner swap in Mozambique – with his stories confirmed by senior figures who never quite grasped the breadth of his activities.
It is a full yet brief film – oddly enough perhaps too short for the amount of information and context the filmmakers are trying to pack in – and as such offers an sketch rather than a full portrait of a quite remarkable man. But it is a fascinating journey through a dense and complex life and one that may intrigue broadcasters who can – in the most pragmatic sense – make the most of the link to Nelson Mandela.
Production Company: Indelible Media
Producer/contact: Mandy Jacobson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Screenplay: Stephen Smith
Cinematography: Rita Noriega, Diego Olivier
Editor: Carlos Aguilo
Music: Antony Partos