Invictus (12A)

IN THE 1990s, newly elected President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela knew his nation remained racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he could bring his people together through the universal language of sport, he set his si

IN THE 1990s, newly elected President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela knew his nation remained racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid.

Believing he could bring his people together through the universal language of sport, he set his sights on South Africa winning the rugby world cup on home soil.

INVICTUS (12A) is director/producer Clint Eastwood's take on that momentous event, a turning point in the country's history - a shared experience that helped to heal the wounds of the past and gave new hope for the future.

Matt Damon is team captain Francois Pienaar who helped Mandela (Morgan Freeman) make it happen.

It's interesting that Americans, not known for their rugby expertise, should make the film.

Freeman says: "This is an important story about a world-shaking event that too few people know about. I cannot think of any moment in history when a nation coalesced so suddenly and so completely.

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"I was proud to have the opportunity to tell this story. And when you have the chance to tell it with Clint Eastwood's abilities...it's something you just have to do."

The director adds: "This story takes place at a critical point in Mandela's presidency. I think he demonstrated great wisdom in incorporating sport to reconcile his country.

"He knows he needs to pull everybody together, to find a way to appeal to their national pride - one thing, perhaps the only thing, they have in common at that time.

"He knows the white population and the black population will ultimately have to work together as a team or the country will not succeed, so he shows a lot of creativity using a sports team as a means to an end.

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