Friday, May 21, 2010


Last night I watched the movie Invictus for the first time.  Thanks to the power of digital video, I was able to enjoy it at home even if I missed seeing it in the big screen.  Normally, I fall asleep halfway through movies but this one kept me awake and smiling till the end.

What does invictus mean?  The word appeared in the movie only as a written word on a piece of paper.  Here's what I found:
Invictus 1. A Latin word which means undefeated or unconquered.  
Invictus 2.  A poem written by a British poet W.E. Henley first published in 1875.  

By William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

In the movie, Nelson Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman) was inspired by the poem while he was in Robben Island prison where he served for almost twenty years.  The isolation and the punishing living conditions in that place would make one think that hope is gone.   For him, however, he believed that his soul remained to be invictus regardless of his circumstance.  "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul."  As President of South Africa, he then inspires François Pienaar (played by Matt Damon), the captain of Springboks rugby team, to steer the team towards winning...and so on...and so forth.

Anyway, Invictus, the movie, is entertaining and inspiring.

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