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).Continue reading “Shakhtar Donetsk is ‘The Other Chelsea’ (2010)”
The title Yeşil Kirmizi refers to green and red, the colors of Amedspor, a Kurdish team that in 2016 played in the third division of Turkish football. To Americans, that sentence sounds harmless, but in Turkey, four of those words could be inflammatory. To strongman Erdogan’s Turkish government, professing Kurdish ethnic identity is tantamount to treason and the support of terrorism.Continue reading “‘Yeşil Kirmizi’ (2016) – The many ways Turks oppress a club”
The football stories of underdeveloped countries often reflect their nation’s politics. Elections need to be carefully planned around major sports events.
Even in developed nations, politicians use sports to bolster approval, because everyone loves a winner.Continue reading “‘The People of Nejmeh’ (2015) had unity in soccer”
As told to Director Maya Zinshtein, what goes on in a stadium is not just a mirror of society, but indicates the direction society is going.
Forever Pure is a uniquely panoptic film of soccer and society. We see that football clubs can be a toy for oligarchs, a tool for politicians, a burning torch for militant supporters groups, a trauma for its players and staff, and a testament that the good guys don’t always win.Continue reading “In ‘Forever Pure’ (2016) it hurts to watch the bad guys win”
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.Continue reading “Turkish fans under oppression in ‘Ayaktakimi’ (2015)”
Men in the Arena comes to your screen in the time of the xenophobic Trump Administration. It took over 3 years for Writer-Director J.R. Biersmith to deliver his tale of 2 young Somalian footballers, whose steadfast friendship and soccer skills are crucial in bringing them to the USA.Continue reading “Being ‘Men in The Arena’ (2017) helps exit Somalia”
Inshallah, Football touched me, but I wasn’t sure why I felt that way. The answer was so complex, it took me 3 days to research and understand Director Ashvin Kumar’s persuasive documentary about the decades of conflict in Indian administered Kashmir, aka Jammu and Kashmir.Continue reading “‘Inshallah, Football’ (2010) explains India’s Kashmiri situation”
Michael Foreman is a renowned British author and illustrator of many children’s books. But the book that affected people the most was his 1989 “War Boy”, about what it was like to grow up in a small village at the start of World War I.
He followed that with the book “War Game” in 1993, which is about the boys on a soccer team who eagerly join the British forces in the new war. Foreman turned his book into this eponymous animated short film in 2002.Continue reading “WW1 recruits thought ‘War Game’ (2002) was a sport”
I watched The Opposition last year but didn’t write about it because the film was so disturbing. This ESPN 30 for 30 TV episode documents how General Pinochet’s junta tortured and killed dissidents. They used the Chilean national stadium as a prison while the team prepared to qualify for WC 1974.Continue reading “‘The Opposition’ (2014) – Chile’s national stadium used for torture”
Soccer fans looking for a way to be part of WC2014, documentarians Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker followed Bob Bradley on his questionably sane task to coach the Egyptian National Team to Brazil.
Arab Spring got in the way.
The film captures not so much Bradley’s journey, but the journey of Egypt’s young people and one ardent soccer fan base, the Ultras Ahlawy.Continue reading “Arab Spring got in Bob Bradley’s way in ‘We Must Go’ (2014)”
In El Portero, a former Real Madrid goalkeeper known as the King of the Penalty Kick, travels the Spanish countryside, wagering men to score against him. The villagers and the underground openly express their opposition to the repressive military dictatorship via a comedic penalty kick shootout versus the soldiers.Continue reading “‘El Portero’ (2000) a pretty Spain in the ugly era of Franco”
Gritty and gripping, Chronicle of an Escape is a true story about innocents and leftists who “disappeared” at the hands of the Argentine juntas during 1976-1983. The filmmakers show how interrogators use torture, starvation, and humiliation to crush the human spirit.Continue reading “‘Chronicle of an Escape’ (2006) from an Argentine prison”