Plot for PeaceCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Beginning with a round of patience, our mystery card player – rotund, bespectacled, a kind persona yet with fierce intelligence – observes: “it’s a game very much like life.”
The player is French-Algerian businessman and diplomat extraordinaire Jean-Yves Ollivier, and what follows is a fascinating documentary revealing his vital yet untold part in dismantling Apartheid during the bloody South African conflicts of the 1980s.
As this award-winning film unfolds we learn of the profound impact growing up during the Algerian fight for independence had on teen Ollivier, shaping not only his career and life but an unwavering mission to improve significantly African nations playing hands in the game of life.
Seeing Apartheid fall and the release of the late-great Nelson Mandela as inevitable, Jean-Yves wanted to minimise the endless carnage and set about creating a backstage platform for peace. Using his cover as a businessman, trading in cereal and other commodities, he gained unique access and devised critical meetings with major players all across South Africa and its warring neighbours, at a point in time when talking wasn’t even a consideration, the cold war raged and the death toll rose monumentally.
Often on the strength of this quiet hero’s word alone world leaders connected in secret, life-altering treaties were explored, prisoner transfers achieved and hope for peace finally appeared on the horizon. The intricate and potentially lethal manoeuvres Jean-Yves made in his Plot for Peace were nothing short of miraculous.
With unprecedented access to the amazing man himself along with many of the other key individuals involved in this incredible story it’s as gripping as any Hollywood thriller. The historic landscape and high-stakes pace are thoughtfully presented and ideally maintained by directors Carlos Agullo and Mandy Jacobson with contributions from those concerned including former presidents and top government officials providing the eye-opening information and compelling texture.
Using patience, perseverance – mainly at his own expense – this extraordinary man worked alone for years keeping focus on the pieces whilst never losing sight of the big picture, liaising and bringing together viciously-feuding parties to save lives and create a better world and thanks to this incredible documentary the world can finally learn of his staggering achievements and well deserved place in history.
Plot for Peace is released in select UK cinemas 14th March 2014, for further information visit here.