‘Fintar o Destino’ (1998) is a beautiful time capsule

Fintar o Destino (1998) 
aka Dribbling Fate

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.

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‘Morris from America’ (2016) is not a soccer movie

Morris from America (2016)

Morris from America might come up when you search for “soccer movie”. But even though it takes place in Germany, and is ostensibly about a black American soccer coach, the film is not about football and actually has no football in it except as a visual reference. I’m reviewing the film on my website really, just to let you guys know.

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A Costa Rican gem: ‘Buscando a Marcos Ramirez’ (2017)

Buscando a Marcos Ramirez (2017)

I was thoroughly enchanted by Buscando a Marcos Ramírez, the first soccer movie I have seen from Costa Rica. In the story, Marcos’ single mom has named him for the popular eponymous children’s book and given him a love of reading. But when she dies, he must move from the simple countryside to the unwelcoming home of his grandfather in the city of San José, Costa Rica.

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‘Mi Mundial’ (2017) is a cautionary tale

Mi Mundial (2017)

Mi Mundial is a charming Cinderella-like football tale, except this Cinderella returns to the ashes of his old life. This futbol pelicula is based on the 2010 children’s book of the same name, by former Uruguayan futbolista Daniel Baldi. A prolific author of mostly juvenile books mostly about football, Baldi uses much of his life in his stories, and he made sure that the film stayed true to its origin and message.

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‘The Pass’ (2016) keeps its grip from stage to film

The Pass (2016)

Retaining its stage heritage, The Pass takes place in 3 hotel rooms at 5 year intervals. On the eve of a Champions League game, 2 young footballer teammates share a gay encounter that shapes their subsequent careers.

Five years later, Jason (Russell Tovey) is an EPL star going through a divorce and uses a table dancer to disprove gay rumors. In another 5 years, Jason is without a club and invites his old teammate Ade (Arinzé Kene) to his hotel room for a reunion. Still passing as straight, perhaps even Jason doesn’t know why he has sought out Ade after a 10-year silence.

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Moral lessons abound in ‘Centre Forward’ (1978)

Centre Forward (1978)

After the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) qualified for WC 2010, Koryo Studio re-mastered and re-released Centre Forward (중앙공격수) on DVD. It has been shown in several film festivals, including the 2011 edition of the Berlin 11mm International Film Festival.

With its black and white production values and moralistic lessons, this 1978 cinematic propaganda from North Korea reminds me of the 1950s TV series Rin Tin Tin and its like. In those days, American television portrayed and reinforced American values of virtue, rescuing people from bad Indians, and being good to dogs.

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Immigrants and soccer ‘En el Séptimo Día’ (2017)

En el Séptimo Día (2017)

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”.

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