Pelada (2010)

Traveling the world to play pickup ‘Pelada’ (2010)

This documentary follows a pair of collegiate players who, unable to make a pro soccer team, channel their competitive-soccer addiction by traveling the world looking for Pelada — not a drug, but a Brazilian word for pick-up game.

A story like this is of course passionate about soccer, and it is supported by wonderful cinematography that surrounds you with a sense of the game and the environment in which the peladas are played.

The making of the movie

Equally fascinating is the story behind the story: how a 4-person team of 20-somethings financed (grants, friends, and Facebook), filmed (2 Sony videocameras), and edited (on $10,000 of macs that they won in a contest) 400 hours of video into a feature film. I remember seeing creators Luke Boughen and Gwendolyn Oxenham on Fox Football Fone-in, asking viewers to donate money to help finish their movie.

Only a few stories can be told in a movie. So they had to limit themselves, and they pursued the most striking situations: a Bolivian prison, a Kenyan slum, the highrise rooftops of Tokyo, and a women’s pelada in Iran, where the ladies played in hijab. There are a few stories where formerly good players have had to give up the game so that they can make a living. In the end, the creators too must face their own realities, that they aren’t the superstars they set out to be. But I suspect the catharsis of making this final love poem to soccer has helped.

Cinematography was by Rebekah Ferguson (Duke soccer) and Ryan White (broke but talented documentarian).

Many interviews are in the native language. Interestingly, the creators said that since they could not afford translators, they sometimes didn’t know what interviewees had said until after they started editing.

Tell your fellow soccer addicts to watch this movie! #WomenDirector


10 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 10