El Portero (2000) - The Goalkeeper

‘El Portero’ (2000) a pretty Spain in the ugly era of Franco

In El Portero, a former Real Madrid goalkeeper known as the King of the Penalty Kick, travels the Spanish countryside, wagering men to score against him. The villagers and the underground openly express their opposition to the repressive military dictatorship via a comedic penalty kick shootout versus the soldiers.

Writer-Director Gonzalo Suárez says this wishful film — because the reality of the era is too depressing — is also about nature. Located in the picturesque area of Asturias, and set in 1948, the cinematography is gorgeous.

The making of featurette shows that nature played a large part in the movie, because filming the shootout on the beach was problematic with weather and tide disruptions. It also reveals that the script was quite flexible (ad hoc even?). Perhaps that’s why the movie is very artful and good at portraying its characters, but the ending is asynchronous and rushed, as if they suddenly realized they had to hurry up and finish the story.

The only soccer is the PKs, and the actor had a month of training to look like a GK. I think they are using a youth-sized goal.

Understanding Catalan versus Spain

The real value of this movie to me was that I had to read up on the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939. That helped me understand the underlying regional conflicts on the Spanish MNT as well as the current economic crisis in Spain. Who says you can’t learn anything from soccer movies? 😏

6 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 6