Sometimes I don’t learn much from watching a soccer movie, but it confuses me enough that I research the subject to understand what the movie was really about. Fútbol Violencia S.A. (Football Violence, Inc.) is such a movie.
Since the 1950s, the glory of Argentine soccer has simultaneously bred a cesspool of corruption and criminal activity. What started as devoted fan groups from the slums grew into mafia-like gangs (barrabravas or barras bravas), whose violence sometimes incurs collateral damage in the murder of innocent fans.
Buenos Aires-born director Pablo Tesoriere conveys the frustration of families who cannot get any justice because the gangs are intertwined with (and often employed by) the football clubs, who collude with police and politicians. The gangs are used as heavy muscle and also provide the votes to keep club executives in power. In return, they receive tickets and run parking (pay or your car is vandalized), concessions, and drugs within and around the stadium.
The film interviews writers and sociologists, who opine that turning your head and ignoring violence is the culture of Argentina. After 15+ years of futility, the best that the innocent families could achieve was a plaque in memory of the lives lost.
Subsequent to this movie, the Argentina Football Association (AFA) banned away supporters from attending games. This alleviated some of the hooligan fights between supporters, but the violence shifted to deadlier internal gang wars–shootings and assassinations– as sub-groups battled for control of their barra brava. Read this 2011 NYTimes article for a good summary of the situation.
Long-time AFA head Julio Grondona died a few weeks after WC 2014. A long-time ally of Sepp Blatter, many accuse Grondona of condoning the violence, as it is the backbone of continued corruption. But barras bravas in Argentina are so institutionalized that no one can see how to eliminate them.
Pablo Tesoriere produced several documentaries in his twenties but it appears he is now primarily a photographer.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
SoccerMovieMom Rating = 5