Review by Andrew L. Urban: http://www.urbancinefile.com.au
This wonderful humanitarian story – especially relevant on the eve of the Beijing Olympics – deserves to be told and it’s a bit of a surprise it hasn’t been told before, while Peter Norman was still alive. He died of a heart attack at age 64 in October 2006, but luckily his nephew the filmmaker, Matt Norman, recorded a lengthy interview with him earlier, which forms the backbone of the film.
But maybe the bigger surprise is that Norman was not invited to the Sydney Olympics ceremony – considering he is still the record holding 200 metre sprinter in Australian history. This and similar socio-political ramifications that flowed from that famous moment in Mexico in 1968, is what the film tries to be about.
It’s an iconic image that stays with us well after the end.To its credit, the film puts the story in its political context, so much so that we understand exactly how important every action was, from the clenched fist of the two black athletes on the podium with Norman, to the subsequent omission of Norman from the next Olympic team – not to mention the aftershocks experienced by the other two, and by Australia’s team manager. Olympic boss Avery Brundage comes off like a racist pig, so affronted by the salutes he demands retribution.
Watching this film 40 years after the event drives home the sad realisation how little progress has been made in the area of racial harmony and compassion in this world. It also reminds us that Australia has something to be proud of as well as something to be ashamed of in the story of Peter Norman.
Urbin Cinefile – Andrew Urban Review,