The biopic La Foquita: El 10 de la Calle concentrates on the inspiring rise of the Peruvian footballer Jefferson Agustín Farfán Guadalupe, whose nickname is “La Foquita”. Farfán emerges from the shanty town of Villa El Salvador, where poverty is so deep, that finding enough food to eat is a daily chore.
The story focuses on themes of discipline, sacrifice, gratitude for that sacrifice, and the honor of representing one’s country. It also shows the importance of getting away from the bad influences and violence in the slums, while also maintaining loyalty to the friendships there. Because in truth, one person’s success stems from many relationships. As his career rises, Farfán never forgets his roots and shows gratitude and respect to his mother, grandmother, childhood friends, early coaches, and his lifelong agent.
Of course, the secondary point of the film is to recognize Farfán’s international career and celebrate Peru’s return to the World Cup in 2018. Farfán scores the winning goal that defeats New Zealand and qualifies Peru to go to Russia. The film also covers Farfán’s career: he started playing pro at age 16 and competed in Europe for 16 years, where his record as a #10 indicates that he wins championships. Towards the end of his career, he recovers from knee injury in the style of Rocky Balboa.
The making of the film
For such a well-made, concise film that focuses on its mission, I was impressed to learn that Director Martin Casapía Casanova was only 21 years old when filming began in Jul-2019. I think he must be the youngest director in all the soccer movies I have reviewed. And this is not even his debut feature, as he was a co-director at age 18. He is also CEO and co-founder of the production company Lfante Films. The filmmakers released La Foquita at the beginning of the pandemic and have been quiet since then, but hopefully they make big strides in Peruvian cinema again. Check out their website and the director’s instagram to see how good they are at producing social content.
One scene in the film that made me chuckle was the bit about Farfán’s experience with Al Jazira Club in the UAE. According to the film, he got injured and Al Jazira refused to honor his contract. But the scene looked like a couple of Peruvians in sheik outfits in front of a green screen, and this is confirmed in a youtube “Behind the Special Effects” clip.
The football in the film is not bad. I suspect the three actors portraying Jefferson Farfán at different ages are not really footballers (the teenager is a dancer), but the soccer is authentically portrayed.
I found some references that questioned whether or not Farfán is really a good role model, based on his personal life (many ladies) and suspensions (I couldn’t figure out what these were about). After WC 2018, the filmmakers contacted him about making a film, and production occurred during a period when Farfán was contracted with Lokomotiv Moscow but was sidelined, presumably by his knee.
Sometimes I downgrade a film if I feel it is whitewashing a player or coach. In fact, that’s why I avoid so many films that are really just promotional vehicles. Maybe this film is too, but I am overlooking any possibility of that because it succeeds so well at promoting family friendly, inspiring and positive messages.
That being said, right now Peru is undergoing terrible political struggle. It was difficult for me to find much info about the film, the cast, or even Farfán himself. I have to rely on Google translate, and I don’t know if information scarcity is a reflection of problems for journalism in Peru. I apologize if anything I write here is insensitive. If it’s incorrect, please let me know.
8 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 8
- Released: 2020-01-30 (Peru)
- In Spanish with English sub-titles
- I watched this on HBO Max
- 1 hour 30 minutes
- Director: Martin Casapía Casanova
- Stars: Jean Franco Robles (adult) , Ray del Castillo (teenage) , Rey del Castillo (niño)
- Watch the Trailer in Spanish
- Lfante Films Website