Sadio Mané: Made in Senegal was originally meant to be a short video clip, but his boy-makes-good story was so compelling, the filmmakers turned it into a feature film. We learn how Mané grew up in a small village in Senegal, where farming was the only future available to children. Little Sadio though, was determined to be a footballer. Through his own drive, perseverance, and talent, Mané grew to a position of footballing fame that allowed him to give back to his community.
What does it mean to be Greek? King Otto shows us through a grating between and then a melding of German and Greek cultures on a football pitch. Combining ambitious German discipline with Greek passion and spirit, the result is an improbable underdog run through the 2004 Euros. Like Morocco’s recent run through WC 2022, where fans found head scarves (ghutra) fashionable, this uplifting film makes you want to be a little bit Greek.
Afghanistan has been in a state of civil war since 1992. For almost 30 years, lives have been violently torn apart by the Taliban, ISIS/ISIL, Pakistan, and the USA. So why is this film titled Men of Hope? Because when Afghans can watch their National Team play, it brings hope to locals, migrants, and refugees, that the homeland can return to normalcy.
Duell der Brüder is a welcome entry in my list of football films. Titled Adidas vs Puma for Amazon, it covers a small but significant piece of sports history along with the drama of two brothers turned personal and business enemies amid the effects of World War 2.
A Kaderschmiede is an elite training center, school, or academy, and in the case of Karlsruher SC, its purpose is to create a cadre of skilled footballers. Writer-Director Juana Guschl followed the club’s youth players for the 2013-2014 season and submitted this film for graduation from the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in 2014.
Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz is not really a soccer movie. This 1974 film from the East German director Konrad Wolf is about a sculptor (Kurt Böwe) in a small town, who gets a commission to create a monument for the local football stadium. Since the artist is fairly well known, the local authorities hope such a public artwork will help increase game attendance.
In general, I don’t like to watch documentaries about current players because they tend to be boring marketing fluff. The arc is usually the same: kid has a nice family, leaves for academy at a young age, overcomes obstacles, recognized as great, wins championships, and starts a foundation.
The Keeper is based on the young life of ManCity goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, whose worldwide fame is due to having weathered the last 20 minutes of the 1956 FA Cup Final with a broken neck.
But fittingly, that incident is a smaller part of the movie, because the real story is how a Nazi soldier and POW became a First Division GK in English football in just a few years after the end of World War 2.
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.
Although The Other Chelsea is 10 years old, it is a valuable film to watch in the context of today’s impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. First-time Writer-Director Jakob Preuss lays out the struggling lives of coal miners in Donetsk and compares them to Kolya, a young rising local politician and businessman who drives a Lexus and drinks very old cognac. What ties them together is the success of their football team, FC Shakhtar Donetsk (Шахта́р Донецьк).
Morris from America might come up when you search for “soccer movie”. But even though it takes place in Germany, and is ostensibly about a black American soccer coach, the film is not about football and actually has no football in it except as a visual reference. I’m reviewing the film on my website really, just to let you guys know.
German fans still recovering from the team’s failure to advance at WC 2018 should return to watching Die Mannschaft. It is a nicely crafted love letter to Joachim Löw and the 2014 German National Team. It is a tribute to German football, showing everything the German Federation (DFB) did to optimize the team to win WC 2014.
No words can adequately describe the courage and madness in fighting a government’s violence against its people. To understand this, you must watch it unfold. To see how football fans influenced the 2013 Gezi protest in Turkey, watch a few videos as the protests began. And then watch Istanbul United. And then watch Ayaktakimi.
As sports fans, we should all thank Director Benjamin Best for his investigative journalism. We like to think that the games on which we spend so much time, money, and emotion, are equally true to us, the fans and supporters.
Refugees comprise 20% of the population of Lebanon. If the USA had a similar percentage, the entire populations of New York and California would be refugees. To counter the effects of such chaos on Lebanon, international organizations like the United Nations try to help the children.