To complement the football fever with some thrilling fiction and staggering documentary, have a look at Raindance’s picks and enjoy the assortment of football films as the World Cup final approaches.
Africa United – Dir: Debs Paterson – 2010
The story of three Rwandan children and their bid to achieve their ultimate dream – to take part in the opening ceremony of the 2010 Football World Cup in Johannesburg. Raindance Postgraduate Film Degree mentor Debs Paterson reaped critical acclaim with this film.
Escape to Victory – Dir: John Huston – 1981
Set in Nazi-occupied Paris, prisoners of war prepare for a propaganda match with the German National Team while the Allied Forces plan their team’s escape. A handful of the world’s best soccer players accompany Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and Max von Sydow in the cast.
Fever Pitch – Dir: David Evans – 1997
An adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel of the same title, Fever Pitch tells a story of obsessed Arsenal fan Paul Ashworth (Colin Firth) trying to balance the passion for his team and his new love interest.
Shaolin Soccer – Dir: Stephen Chow – 2001
Former shaolin monks reunite to discover their long-lost courage and take on the fearless soccer team in town. Together with a young and mysterious teammate, they play the most action-packed match ever seen in soccer films.
Bend It Like Beckham – Dir: Gurinder Chadha – 2002
Coming-of-age story of two girls from different backgrounds united by their passion for soccer and the eagerness to follow the dream and become a professional player. Tough trainings and rivalry on the ground are accompanied by family tensions and the ultimate quest to stay true to themselves.
Football Factory – Dir: Nick Love – 2004
Director Nick Love guides through the violent ways of Chelsea FC football hooligans. With testosterone levels soaring, the story follows a group of young men spiralling downwards from bleak future prospects into crime between weekend football matches.
Eleven Men Out – Dir: Róbert I. Douglas – 2005
A film on Icelandic professional soccer – though Iceland doesn’t qualify for FIFA membership due to the lack of grass. When star player Óttar comes out to his team and family, he gets kicked out from the pro team. He joins the local gay team and while preparing to a decisive match, win is not the only thing at stake – there’s his family’s acceptance and the stand for the gay community.
The Goal! – The Dream Begins – Dir: Danny Cannon – 2005
In the slums of Los Angeles young Mexican Muñez dreams of a football career. Spotted by a scout he travels to try out for Newcastle United and faces the challenges of a newbie in the soccer industry. The opening piece of the Goal!-films was later followed by two features, totalling in 300 minutes of pure football enthusiasm.
The Great Match – Dir: Gerardo Olivares – 2006
Wherever in the world they live, football fans are united by their passion for the game. Preparing for the 2002 World Cup final, the film follows three tribes from around the globe trying to see the match between Germany and Brazil. Isolated in Amazonas or in the Sahara desert, their quest to fetch a TV and enjoy the game requires superb determination.
Rudo y Cursi – Dir: Carlos Cuarón – 2008
Two brothers struggle to succeed in their lives so they team up to support each others’ careers. Cursi wants to be a professional singer, Rudo plays soccer. Moving up to Mexico City, they have to figure out how to carry on with their very different aspirations and manage their personal conflicts.
The Damned United – Dir: Tom Hooper – 2009
A take on the leadership struggles of Brian Clough’s debated tenure at the helm of Leeds United – by a star-studded cast including Martin Sheen, Timothy Spall and Jim Broadbent. The film depicts the controversial methods and eccentric personality of Clough arguably destroying the team while struggling with his own insecurities.
Soka Africa – Dir: Suridh Hassan – 2010
An eye-opening documentary about the power and salvation soccer means in the poverty-stricken regions of Africa. Hassan’s film focuses on two boys both scouted from Cameroon. One lands in a caring and nurturing environment to further his skills, but the other is sold into trafficking and struggles to survive in the streets of Paris. See Soka Africa right now at raindancereleasing.com