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INVICTUS

About The Production
Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people, in a way that little else does. – Nelson Mandela

The 1995 World Cup Final was, to most people around the world, little more than a thrilling rugby match. But to the people of South Africa, it was a turning point in their history—a shared experience that helped to heal the wounds of the past even as it gave new hope for the future. The architect of this benchmark event was the nation's president, Nelson Mandela. Its builders were the members of South Africa's rugby team, the Springboks, led by their captain, Francois Pienaar.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, "Invictus” chronicles how President Mandela and Francois Pienaar joined forces to turn their individual hopes—the president, to unite his country; the captain, to lead the nation's team to World Cup glory—into one shared goal with the motto "One team, one country.”

In the film, Mandela calls upon Pienaar to lead his team to greatness, citing a poem that was a source of inspiration and strength to him during his years in prison. It is later revealed that the poem is "Invictus,” by William Ernest Henley. The title is translated to mean "unconquered,” which, Eastwood says, "doesn't represent any one character element of the story. It takes on a broader meaning over the course of the film.”

Morgan Freeman stars in the role of Nelson Mandela and also serves as an executive producer on the film. "This is an important story about a world-shaking event that too few people know about,” he states. "I cannot think of any moment in history when a nation coalesced so suddenly and so completely. 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.”

As "Invictus” opens, Nelson Mandela—a man who had spent 27 years in prison for fighting against apartheid—is elected president of a South Africa that is still bitterly divided. Though the unjust system has officially ended, the long-held racial lines between people cannot easily be erased. With his country teetering on the brink of implosion, President Mandela sees hope in an unlikely place: the rugby field. With South Africa poised to host the World Cup Finals, Mandela looks to unite the country behind their national team, the Springboks.

Eastwood notes, "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.”

That end is Mandela's dream of a "rainbow nation,” starting with the Springbok colors of green and gold. The president's plan is not without risk. In the face of daunting social and economic crises, even his closest advisors question why he is focusing on something as seemingly insignificant as rugby. Many also wonder how he can support the Springboks, especially at a time when black South Africans want to permanently eradicate the name and emblem they have long despised as a symbol of apartheid. But Mandela has the foresight to recognize that eliminating the white South Africans' beloved rugby team will only widen the rift between the races to a point where it might never be bridged.

Putting the story in perspective, John Carlin, the author of the book Playing the Enemy, on which the film is based, explains, "What you have to understand is that the green shirt of the

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