Many have compared Cold Sweat with the 2006 feature Offside, which is perhaps the most famous soccer movie out of Iran. But to do so is a crime, even though both dramas are about women trying to exercise simple human rights that are denied to them in Iran.
Watching Zanzibar Soccer Dreams via the virtual 2020 Women Sports Film Festival, I suffered a little deja-vu, wondering if I had already seen this film. It turns out that this documentary, by two professors in the UK, came out only a year after New Generation Queens: A Zanzibar Soccer Story was released by a couple of young American women. I saw both films through the WSFF.
In France, Footeuses is what female footballers call themselves, the feminine form of Footballeur. Until recently, to be a female footballer was largely an oxymoron: to be female and a football player was not accepted. This changed with the Womens World Cup 2019 in France and the hope that the hosting country’s women would repeat the French mens’ success at WC 2018.
Behind the benign title of Lost in Africa is a thriller that embodies every mother’s worst nightmare: her child vanishes. It’s not really a soccer movie as much as it is a reflection of the hard and dangerous life in Kiera, a Kenyan shanty town.
Writer-Director Bhojraj Bhat is a journalist and filmmaker who assembled Sunakali without really knowing what the story was until he had accumulated a lot of footage. And so for the viewer, he unfolds the lives of girls in Mugu, a remote Himalayan district in Nepal, much as he might have discovered himself.
Fintar o Destino is a strikingly beautiful film, but not at all in a visual sense. Filmed in standard definition, the story immerses you in Cape Verdean village life and the regrets of Mané (Carlos Germano), a frustrated 50 year old former footballer. He didn’t leave the island when he had the chance, and to defy the taunt of a friend, he uses all his savings to try and recoup his dignity.
It’s rare when a director’s first feature film is so thoroughly engaging, especially with a story that, in an elevator pitch, must have seemed so small. But the many close-ups and the actors’ pure performances magnify this story about humanity and bring Sudani from Nigeria home to your heart.
The title Yeşil Kirmizi refers to green and red, the colors of Amedspor, a Kurdish team that in 2016 played in the third division of Turkish football. To Americans, that sentence sounds harmless, but in Turkey, four of those words could be inflammatory. To strongman Erdogan’s Turkish government, professing Kurdish ethnic identity is tantamount to treason and the support of terrorism.
Post-football, Eric Cantona found a new passion and challenge: cinema. At 30 years old, he unexpectedly retired from football in 1997. Among reasons Eric has cited in retrospect: he was tired of playing the game. However, he transitioned to acting as well as beach soccer, popularizing the sport and managing the French beach soccer team for almost 15 years.
Writer-Director Emre Sahin and his successful production company Karga7 like to draw stories and real topics from the real world.
Directors and brothers Christopher and Alex Browne filmed After the Cup: Sons of Sakhnin United during the 2004-05 season. Almost 15 years have passed since the events were recorded, but judging from more recent soccer movies such as Forever Pure, life has changed very little for Arabs in Israel. Israeli Arabs (Palestinians) remain second-class citizens, and Arabic players are still subjected to hostilities from fanatic Jews, such as the fans of Beitar Jerusalem.
Shoot languished in my Amazon Prime watchlist because I assumed it was just another foreign film. So I was quite surprised when I started watching it, and almost the first words on the screen were “The first Saudi-American film”.
En el Séptimo Día is more of an art film with a message from Director Jim McKay. It originated with a script that he drafted in 2001. The story is an intimate portrait of Mexican immigrant life, pulled from his present neighborhood in Brooklyn as well as his experience years ago, when he worked in a Noe Valley restaurant in San Francisco and watched movies at the Roxie Theater.
He went on to become a very successful director in American television, but returned to this film when he had “saved up enough of his own money”.
Refugees comprise 20% of the population of Lebanon. If the USA had a similar percentage, the entire populations of New York and California would be refugees. To counter the effects of such chaos on Lebanon, international organizations like the United Nations try to help the children.
End of Summer immerses you in the WC 1998 memories of Director Quan Zhou. Like the protagonist in his film, he was 11 years old, living in a compound in Shaoxing, when the World Cup was first broadcast live in China. Boys of his generation became fans of football and of players like Del Piero.