People will travel to see something unique: centuries old castles and cathedrals, or even an old football stadium with 100 years of tradition and raucous, rabid, singing West Ham fans. Iron Men brings us the story of these fans, whose club moved from their 104 year old Boleyn Ground to the former Olympic Stadium.
I had trouble understanding the title of Argentina Fútbol Club. This is not the name of an actual club, and the documentary describes itself as a brief chronicle of the rivalry between Argentine clubs Boca and River Plate.
Very good things can come out of obsessive fan behavior*. …such as this feature length documentary, God Save the Wings. Producer and life-long Wings fan Michael Romalis took his 40 year old collection of memorabilia, facts, and videos, and with co-producer and fellow fan Timothy O’Bryhim wrote a book and then made a movie.
In his 2015 docufilm Una Meravigliosa Stagione Fallimentare, Director Mario Bucci creates a remarkable homage to his home club, located in the city of Bari on the southeast coast of Italy. The charm of this film comes from the innocent appeal of the players. There are also the tongue-in-cheek presentations of the kit men and the people who pull the strings. And, you are buoyed by the fans, the city, and its people as enthusiasm builds behind a team that should be hopeless.
It all makes an uplifting story of a team and a movement that create joy from bankruptcy and A Wonderful Season of Failure (the English title).
As an American, I sometimes have a terrible time understanding British humor. The Bromley Boys is one such case. Which in this year of 2020 is quite sad, because I really need cheering up.** Having enjoyed the youtube series Seaside Town by Warren Dudley, I expected his screenplay for The Bromley Boys to be equally fun.
As a soccer fan who rarely watches any other sport these days, I tend to forget that basketball, baseball and pointy football don’t have fans like soccer football does. Following the European and Latin American traditions, soccer is the only pro sport in the USA where, pre-pandemic, supporters groups show up with songs, drums, banners, flags, TIFOs and a s**tload of enthusiasm.
Football clubs used to publish just a single documentary film about themselves every so often, but now they’ve migrated to massive streaming series. Usually I avoid football club and player movies because I know they are going to amount to a very long marketing video. I made an exception for the Netflix series Sunderland ’Til I Die. And here’s why.
You might expect that as a reviewer of soccer movies, I would be well aware of COPA90, a company that claims to be “The world’s largest independent football media business”, delivering stories on “football like you’ve never seen it before”. I knew the name, but I hadn’t looked at their content until I watched Derby Days Berlin, an episode of their Copa90 Stories youtube channel.
River, El Más Grande Siempre (translation: River, the Greatest Ever) is a 2019 documentary about Club Atlético River Plate in Argentina. It covers the players, the club’s idols, some of its 35 championships, the history, the style of soccer, and the fans.
Post-football, Eric Cantona found a new passion and challenge: cinema. At 30 years old, he unexpectedly retired from football in 1997. Among reasons Eric has cited in retrospect: he was tired of playing the game. However, he transitioned to acting as well as beach soccer, popularizing the sport and managing the French beach soccer team for almost 15 years.
American Fútbol is like a playful combination of Anthony Bourdain style and Pelada, sampling the food, absorbing a little culture and history, and playing pickup soccer with fans in 8 countries. In 2014, two young men, Directors Peter Karl and Sam Mathius, set out to cover the fan experience from Mexico to WC 2014 in Brazil—7,000 miles by way of Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay.
American owners of sports teams tend to forget that,
Without fans and supporters, there would be no sports heroes.
If they give an Oscar for brilliant documentary made under incredible time pressure, Save the Crew: The Fans vs the System wins hands down. It starts with the first #SaveTheCrew rally:
Morgan Hughes: “This is not over! If you came here for a funeral, you’re in the wrong place!”
Crowd chants: “We’re not done yet! We’re not done yet!”
In Turkey, Supporters Groups are the real fans, and everyone else is just a spectator. Filmmakers Naz Gündogdu and Friedemann Pitschak have documented a life that Americans have not yet experienced: being a fan in the face of political oppression.