In France, Footeuses is what female footballers call themselves, the feminine form of Footballeur. Until recently, to be a female footballer was largely an oxymoron: to be female and a football player was not accepted. This changed with the Womens World Cup 2019 in France and the hope that the hosting country’s women would repeat the French mens’ success at WC 2018.
Sometimes a drama can reveal more about society’s problems than can a documentary. From its Amazon Prime description, it might not catch your eye that, unlike all the other movies on this topic, Boisko Bezdomnych is a dramatic feature film. The idea for the film arose from a Polish team going to the Homeless World Cup.
Nefta Football Club stands out as being the second*** soccer movie to win an Oscar nomination (that I know of). Nominated in the 2020 Best Live Action Short Film category, Writer-Director Yves Piat has created a visually stunning and engaging short that leads to a whimsical but virtual punch line.
The message of Soccer in the City is important: that at $1,500 to $5,500 per year, the pay-to-play model excludes low-income children. American soccer doesn’t reach inner city kids, who could be untapped potential to help win World Cups. In his feature-length debut, Director Michael Holstein shows urban efforts bearing fruit in DC, the Bronx, and Atlanta.
See You Soon (До скорой встречи) is a beguiling romance that combines fairy tale, travelogue, and a little bit of soccer.
Can America have a male soccer star who is a recognizable face worldwide but plays in the USA? To American hearts still aching from the failure to qualify in T&T, it feels like a fantasy. Adding to the soccer fairytale, the ridiculously handsome Ryan Hawkes (Liam McIntyre) plays for the storied Los Angeles SC. (That’s LASC, not Bob Bradley’s LAFC). Celebrity has gone to Ryan’s head, and he’s a jerk who throws champagne and cocktail glasses when he’s mad drunk. Driving while intoxicated, he suffers a major knee injury and a media backlash.
What would life be like if there were no such thing as football or soccer? The amusing but dark short Beinball shows us what happens to a middle-aged office worker whose only joy is the beautiful game.
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.
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.
Iceland Iceland Iceland. They have so much to envy: gorgeous environment, the Viking thunder clap, and a team that performed at the highest international stages despite a population of around 350,000 and being coached by a dentist.
Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks is not a soccer movie, but should be watched for its engaging 10-minute animation of a football game. Like all Disney animations, the quality is so good that the 50 year old film remains on par with today’s technology.
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.
89 is Director Dave Stewart’s ode to the 1988-89 season and final game in which Arsenal won the Premier League title. Interspersing player, manager, and fan interviews with beaucoup game footage, 89 is exciting and well put together. But at the same time, I had to ask myself if this documentary is tone deaf.
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.
It’s rare when a director’s first feature film is so thoroughly engaging, especially with a story that, in an elevator pitch, must have seemed so small. But the many close-ups and the actors’ pure performances magnify this story about humanity and bring Sudani from Nigeria home to your heart.
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.