Filmmaker Matt Norman is the nephew of Peter Norman, the track star who had the honour of being the third (and only white) man on the podium when US sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave their infamous black power salute at the 1968 Olympics. The story behind that iconic gesture – and the fallout from it, which saw all three men punished for their involvement – is superbly covered in this insightful, informative doc. But Norman’s decision to focus on his uncle leaves the film feeling unbalanced: Norman Senior clearly deserves recognition for his part in the drama, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that he was a sympathetic observer rather than key participant. Both Smith and Carlos do appear, but their contributions are fleeting. It would have been nice, for instance, to know more about their lives after ’68. Still, this is an affectionate and affecting tribute.
Friday July 13 2012