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Documentary

Review – ‘Neymar: The Perfect Chaos’ (2022)

Before watching this Netflix docuseries on Neymar, I knew little about the Brazilian who was supposed to be the next Pelé. I’ve probably seen more memes of Neymar than I’ve seen him play.

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Documentary

Is ‘The Holy Game’ (2021) sportswashing

Director Brent Hodge did not intend to make a film about why men enter the Catholic priesthood. At the outset, he and co-director Chris Kelly thought their film would be a comedic pop culture documentary, a movie genre niche that is Hodge’s specialty. They envisioned fat friars sweating in the Vatican-sponsored football tournament known as The Clericus Cup.

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Documentary

‘The Rescue’ (2021) may be the best

The last film from Elizabeth Chai Vasarhely and Jimmy Chin was the Oscar-winning, bone-chilling Free Solo. National Geographic handed them the reins to tell the story of what is commonly known as the Thai cave rescue. Once again, the Director duo deliver a pulsating story about men who pursue a death-defying sport, except this time the hobby enables the saving of 13 lives.

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Documentary

‘Maradona in Mexico’ (2019) is his saving grace

Amongst many other themes, the Netflix series Maradona in Mexico is about coaching and the power of belief. British Director Angus Macqueen follows Diego Maradona, the players and the staff of Dorados de Sinoloa, a second division club that hopes to be promoted to LigaMX in its 2018-2019 season.

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Documentary

Review: ‘Otra forma de entender la vida’ (2021)

What does it take to win your league during a pandemic? In this documentary, the answer is to tackle one game at a time: partido a partido. What does it mean to win your league during a pandemic? Just as much as winning during a regular season. Maybe a great deal more, because the stakes are so much higher on and off the pitch.

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Documentary Short

Paloma Freestyle: ‘All I Need is a Ball’ (2020)

Paloma Pujol is on a mission in Madrid. She is a world class, professional female freestyler. But amongst 100 freestylers in Spain, she is the only female. Paloma sets out to change that.

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Documentary

Will there be more ‘Men of Hope’ (2019)

Afghanistan has been in a state of civil war since 1992. For almost 30 years, lives have been violently torn apart by the Taliban, ISIS/ISIL, Pakistan, and the USA. So why is this film titled Men of Hope? Because when Afghans can watch their National Team play, it brings hope to locals, migrants, and refugees, that the homeland can return to normalcy.

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Documentary

At least the soccer is great in ‘LFG’ (2021)

LFG,  the new documentary on HBOMax, is about a mission that is right and just. From other reviews on this website, you know that I am 100% behind the USWNT’s fight for equal pay. But LFG (Let’s F**king Go!) is in some ways a disservice to the cause, because the film is too long and becomes boring. The first rule of soccer movies should be: Don’t take more than 90 minutes to tell your story.

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Cultural Documentary

There’s real coaching at ‘Real Kashmir FC’ (2019)

Greg Clark’s documentary Real Kashmir FC makes you wonder if being a football coach is a career, a calling, or a sheer act of stubbornness. In the case of former Rangers player David Robertson, it appears to be a tasty stew of all three.

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Documentary

Searching for Justice – ‘The Celtic Boys Club Scandal’ (2021)

Child sexual abuse is a topic that society sweeps under the rug, even though the effects on its victims and their families are lifelong. When child sexual abuse happens within an organization’s purview, it is a huge liability for which many deny responsibility.

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Documentary

‘Captains of Zaatari’ (2021) raises awareness

Imagine a film where Cinderella goes to the ball, has her magical moment, and then returns to the cinders to make the best of her life as a servant to a cruel family. If you know Cinderella, you know she is resilient, and she will keep singing and will find friendly relationships to sustain her, even if they are only animal friends.

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Documentary

‘Pelé’ (2021) – the game that made Pelé cry

The Netflix documentary Pelé has all the makings of a prestige film: a man known as the greatest footballer in the world, the only player to have won 3 World Cups, and celebrity in the historical context of a brutal dictatorship. The twist in the story is that you see an aged man at his most physically vulnerable, who cries at remembering all the pressure he withstood to make his fans happy.

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Documentary

‘Fixed!’ (2020) – how to play the match-fixing game

Once you’ve served prison time for match fixing, what is the easiest way to keep making money? Claim yourself notorious, become a consultant, and get paid to give interviews about corruption in FIFA. 

The story of match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal first broke in 2010, when as a FIFA Match Agent, Perumal arranged an international friendly between Bahrain and a fake team from Togo. The resulting outrage brought the match-fixing to light.

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Documentary

‘In Search of Greatness’ (2018), born from creativity

If we study the Great Ones of sport, we find there are many contributing factors to their success: motivation, competitiveness, mentors, resilience, discipline, talent, and luck. Writer-Director Gabe Polsky gives us examples of all that and adds one more trait, creativity, that extends across music, art, and other disciplines.

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Documentary

‘Elite School’ (2014) a view of a German football academy

A Kaderschmiede is an elite training center, school, or academy, and in the case of Karlsruher SC, its purpose is to create a cadre of skilled footballers. Writer-Director Juana Guschl followed the club’s youth players for the 2013-2014 season and submitted this film for graduation from the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in 2014.