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Coming on the heels of the 94 year-old apartheid leader’s hospitalization earlier this month, the teaser trailer for “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom” is short on content but big on emotion and respect for the man’s ideals.

There’s only one scene of actual footage, literally evoking the film’s metaphorical title with a long-shot of elderly Mandela walking along a sun-set field with children flagging behind him. What tugs the heart-strings is the stirring narration by actor Idris Elba, who portrays the former South African president, giving voice to Mandela’s ethos: “People learn to hate; they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart.”

For Elba, who’s got Pacific Rim opening now and the small-screen Luther returning for its third season, playing Mandela represents a well-deserved prominence that will likely garner awards season buzz. It will be interesting to see his take on the man and how it compares with Morgan Freeman’s version in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, where the president played a smaller role. If the voice and cadence featured here are any indication, it’s going to be a career-defining turn.

Directed by Justin Chadwick, whose “The First Grader” was the powerful tale of a Kenyan freedom fighter returning to elementary school for a formal education, “Mandela: The Long Road to Freedom” also stars Naomie Harris (28 Days Later, Skyfall) as Nelson’s wife Winnie. The film opens in limited release in the US on November 19th and in the UK on January 3rd.

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