Only watch ‘Maradona’ (2019) for the football

Diego Maradona (2019)

Before there was Messi, there was Maradona. Asif Kapadia’s Diego Maradona is an extraordinary football film in its collection of Maradona’s greatest hits: his passes and shots as well as the violence perpetrated upon him by opponents. In extensive footage, time and time again Maradona throws off tackles like a dog shaking off raindrops. There is not a single moment where he looks ordinary on the field. Even his juggling during practice is something I had never seen before.

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‘Forever Chape’ (2018): a third view of the Chapecoense disaster

Forever Chape (2018), aka Para Sempre Chape

Para Sempre Chape is the third film I have seen on the Nov-26-2016 tragic flight of the Brazilian team Chapecoense. This version by Uruguayan Director Luis Ara intended to showcase the team’s history and recovery, but not focus on the grim details of the accident. To read the details of the tragedy, please refer to my reviews of the Zimablist Brothers’ Nossa Chape and ESPN’s Setenta y Seta.

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‘Ordinary Gods’ (2019): It takes a family to sustain a footballer

Ordinary Gods (2019)

The first feature documentary from Writer-Director Pascui Rivas, Ordinary Gods was meant to be a prestige piece. Along that line, his film does not show six young players as powerful future gods of football, nor as soccer royalty who will wow us with talent. Instead, Rivas lets us into their lives to reveal their human frustrations and fragility.

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‘Yeşil Kirmizi’ (2016) – The many ways Turks oppress a club

Yeşil Kirmizi or The Red Green (2016)

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. 

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‘Looking for…’ fanatic football fans (2010-2015)

Looking for Barcelona (2012)

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.

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Review | ‘After the Cup: Sons of Sakhnin United’ (2009)

After the Cup: Sons of Sakhnin United (2009)

Directors and brothers Christopher and Alex Browne filmed After the Cup: Sons of Sakhnin United during the 2004-05 season. Almost 15 years have passed since the events were recorded, but judging from more recent soccer movies such as Forever Pure, life has changed very little for Arabs in Israel. Israeli Arabs (Palestinians) remain second-class citizens, and Arabic players are still subjected to hostilities from fanatic Jews, such as the fans of Beitar Jerusalem.

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‘Mi Mundial’ (2017) is a cautionary tale

Mi Mundial (2017)

Mi Mundial is a charming Cinderella-like football tale, except this Cinderella returns to the ashes of his old life. This futbol pelicula is based on the 2010 children’s book of the same name, by former Uruguayan futbolista Daniel Baldi. A prolific author of mostly juvenile books mostly about football, Baldi uses much of his life in his stories, and he made sure that the film stayed true to its origin and message.

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