August 2, 2021

10 great movies of the beautiful game

Marathon days, enjoy a Scotland-Czech Republic in the middle of the table, discuss which will be the goal of the championship (although Patrik Schick has it practically won) and have a coffee later than 20:00 to see the Argentine premiere in the Cup America. National team football generates a diverse serotonin, one capable of explaining the union almost universal that football uncovers all over the planet.

2020 was postulated as the great summer of sport: the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Euro2020 (which would be held in various venues) and the America’s Cup made up a golden trident for the most dedicated. The Covid-19 He ended up canceling everything and transferring the pressure to 2021, which has been able to recover lost ground and which brings together, in the coming days, weeks and months, the three previous competitions.

Soccer moves audiences, the world and capital, but it has also been the protagonist of great feature films and documentaries that sought to delve into the socioeconomic phenomenon that it generates. Beyond Sylvester Stallone sharing the scene with Pelé, Bobby Moore or Michael Caine, Clough’s exploits with Nottingham Forest and an acid ode to women’s football are crowned as the great films in which football is the protagonist.

    I want to be like Beckham (2002)

    Breaking gender stereotypes in 2002 was not enough for Gurinder Chadha, who also danced to racial clichés in I want to be like Beckham: a cult film for lovers, not only of football, but also of cinema. Comical, biting and funny, the film covers the life of Jess (Parminder Nagra), a young woman who sighs vertebra after vertebra for football and who not only dreams of being an idol at the level of David Beckham, but also of dedicating herself to that sports professionally.

    He will run into two steel walls: a world that does not consider women as equals and a family with deep-rooted traditions that will expect an early marriage and a traditional life away from the playing fields.


    Diego Maradona (2019)

    Asif Kapadia knew how to portray like no one else the dichotomy that Diego Armando Maradona lived in Naples, the city where he found his alter ego and that would end up generating the darkest legend of the footballer.

    The English director’s acclaimed documentary (which features award-winning works such as Amy -2015-, a film about the singer Amy Winehouse that won the Oscar for best documentary feature film) focused on her football stage in the southern Italian city, a place that welcomed her as a true ‘D10s’.

  • It is enough to relive the images that occurred in the vicinity of the Neapolitan stadium, -now renamed Diego Armando Maradona-, after the death of Pelusa to understand to what extent the myth surpassed the person.


    Finding Eric (2009)

    Winner of the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, Ken Loach’s film embraces the mythomania and importance that both football and the players themselves engender among fans.

    Eric Bishop (played by Steve Evetts, former bassist for The Fall), has his life turned upside down. Family and personal problems lead him to a suicide attempt that is not completed, but from which he receives treatment. Submerged in meditation, he begins to have hallucinations in which Éric Cantona (ex-footballer and Manchester United legend) appears. As a staunch fan of the beautiful game, Bishop begins to listen to the Frenchman as if he were a therapist to give a 180º turn to his particular vital disaster.


    Escape or Victory (1981)

    Few times has celluloid managed to unite so many stars under the same film. Pelé (Brazil), Osvaldo Ardiles (Argentina) or Bobby Moore (England), football leaders from their respective countries, became cast partners with the established Sylvester Stallone or Michael Caine to portray on the big screen the ‘match of the death ‘: a real event that took place on August 9, 1942 and pitted FC Start, a team made up of former Dynamo Kiev players, against a German team at the time Ukraine was invaded by the Germans during the III Reich.

    Evasion or victory, 117 minutes of football epic in the middle of World War II, tells the story of some prisoners from the allied side who live in a Nazi prison camp. As with the FC Start game, they will face the German conglomerate to combat power and ideology between touches of the ball.

    The film directed by John Huston has become an essential of the genre, combining the passion that football arouses and combining it with many historical ingredients.


    The Damned United (2009)

    Few coaches have given as much film content as Brian Clough (1935-2004). The English coach becomes the protagonist in The Damned United, directed by Tom Hopper, based on the novel by David Peace.

    The film focuses on Clough’s tenure as Leeds United manager in 1974, a position in which he held out for a whopping 44 days. His years as a coach at Derby County, where he started in 1967, are also recounted, and allusion is made to his great enmity with Don Revie, the coach he replaced in Leeds (after his departure to the English national team) and with whom he starred in numerous controversial.


    Forbidden games (2017)

    This Netflix documentary tells the tragic story of Justin Fashanu (1961-1998), the first professional footballer to speak publicly about his homosexuality to the ever-poisonous British tabloids. Fashanu was a prodigy, a talented player who managed to overcome racial barriers to become the first non-white to sign for a million pounds -in his transfer from Norwich City to Nottingham Forest-, millionaire amounts for the time in the one where the hiring occurred.

    His transparency around his sexual orientation became a real nightmare, generating a cocktail of sensations and feelings that caused him to end up taking his life in his London home in Shoreditch at the age of 37.

    Forbidden Games It tells of his hard childhood, the relationship of ups and downs with his brother, and also a footballer, John Fashanu, and how sincerity and courage became a prison with gold bars for the English.


    Kaiser, the best footballer who never played a game (2018)

    Player of Fluminense, Botafogo or Flamengo, but without having stepped on the pitch with any of the three Brazilian teams. Carlos Henrique Raposo (1963) has a contested legend among the streets of Rio de Janeiro: that of the footballer who never played a game.

    This documentary directed by the British Louis Myles delves into the story of Carlos ‘Kaiser’, the myth of the man who lived off football out of necessity, poverty and because he considered it as a tool of resounding success among women.


    The game of their lives (2005)

    Directed by David Anspaugh, and featuring Gerard Butler, The game of their lives portrays on the big screen the participation of the North American soccer team in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.

    The United States was invited to participate in the tournament, but the scourge of professionalization and the lack of an official team means that the nation has to rely on a group of young people to face the best teams on the planet.

    Based on real events, the feature film focuses on the feat of the American team, which managed to beat England 0-1 against all odds in Belo Horizonte, the only game they would win in said championship.

    The game of their lives It also gives its name to a BBC documentary that tells the story of North Korea at the 1966 World Cup, in which it defeated all-powerful Italy.


    One night in Turin (2010)

    Gazza’s tears in Turin, dream penalties against West Germany and the desolation of a country that created football, but has not lifted a trophy since 1966.

    One night in Turin, a documentary by James Erskine, combines the No Dorma de Turandot with an in-depth analysis of the social consequences that the defeat in the semifinal of the 1990 World Cup in Italy had for the nation, a failure that generated a new discourse around the sport that England moves.


    I believe in miracles (2009)

    And The Damned United focused on Brian Clough’s career as coach of Derby County and Leeds United, the I believe in miracles by Jonny Owen recounts his subsequent, and successful, career as coach of one of the most historic teams in England: Nottingham Forest, champion of the European Cup in 1979 and 1980.

    The scriptwriter and director of the documentary spent more than two years shaping the project, which included interviews with many of the players who shaped this historic Clough Forest.