Looking for something a little different to watch? Classico is a cute mash-up of comedy and a little romance in the context of a rivalry between ultra but nice football supporters.
In the story, Sami (Ahmed Sylla) works at Olympique de Marseille (OM) and also lives in and supports a small group home of orphans. Sami is an orphan himself, having lost his parents at age 6 when they travelled to an away game. Prior to an upcoming OM derby with PSG, the home receives an eviction notice, so the resourceful orphans decide to borrow OM’s Champions League Cup and raise money with instagram selfies.
Unfortunately, by the next morning, the trophy has been stolen from the kids, apparently by PSG supporters. Because of his childhood trauma, Sami has never been outside of Marseille. But to save the home and restore OM’s pride and legacy, Sami resolves to travel to big bad Paris, infiltrate the PSG supporters group, and recover the Cup.
Ahmed Sylla’s performance as the lovable Sami is what makes the film so watchable. A football fan himself, he is quite perfect as an OM supporter trying to hide his pain surrounded by PSG supporters. To infiltrate the group, he steals the identity of an Argentine designer working for PSG, gets to stay in a 5-star hotel, and romances Lisa (Alice Belaïdi), a PSG staffer and fan whose brother Pierre (Hakim Jemili) is 2nd in command of the PSG fans. Of course, the deceptions catch up with Sami, but in the end the rival supporters appreciate that they are really no different and help Sami catch the real thief.
OM History and Le Classique
The only real disappointment I had with this story was to find out that OM’s Champions League trophy is a bit of a scandal. In reading about the history of the PSG and OM rivalry known as Le Classique, it turns out that OM’s owner Bernard Tapie fixed a Ligue 1 match prior to the 1993 Champions League final, and that the OM players were doped up on speed for the championship game. The match-fixing is known as the French football bribery scandal. OM had to relinquish its Ligue 1 title that year, but they were allowed to keep their Champions League trophy.
In 2017, Sylla had his debut feature L’Ascension (The Climb), and his acting skills have only increased. It’s interesting to note that the character in that film is also named Samy, and that Sylla performs with the same co-star, Alice Belaïdi.
Classico also has cameos and performances by a number of footballers, comedians, and musicians, but I don’t know enough about them to recognize them. However, I am sure that OM, PSG, and French viewers are quite pleased with the appearances. Watch the music video with Kofs and Ahmed Sylla. And of course, the film is quite enjoyable without knowing any of this.
There are though a number of holes in the plot, which I had to ignore or forgive (I really wanted to know what happened to the Argentine designer). But Classico is a very fresh story, and Ahmed Sylla is well worth watching.
7 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7
- Released: 2022-10-28 (Amazon)
- In French with English sub-titles
- I watched this on Amazon Prime
- 1 hour 37 min
- Directors: Nathanaël Guedj , Adrien Piquet-Gauthier
- Stars: Ahmed Sylla (Sami) , Alice Belaïdi (Lisa)
- Watch the Trailer in French
- Watch the music video with Kofs and Ahmed Sylla
- Wikipedia history of Le Classique