As I'm still somewhat struck with the football feaver, I watched two football films.
United Passions - 6.5/10
So yeah this is a movie about the FIFA. It's kinda weird having a sports film about the executives and not the teams but I have to admit I was intrigued by the idea. After all nowadays we take the FIFA for granted, so it should be interesting to see where they come from. Too bad the movie fails to show it. I mean it does show the history of FIFA from foundation to 2005, so about a 100 years. This is however the problem, they have to show too much in the film, they have no time to establish or explain anything. The characters remain mostly shallow, important events are just cut away.
An example: In 1930 the FIFA hosts it's first World Cup a year later the movie shows that they went bankrupt. The characters talk about how their dream is over. Cut to 1937, the FIFA still exists and they talk about the last WC in Italy and how it was influenced by politics. But how did they get out of bankruptcy? Never explained. And that happens all the time.
And how Sepp Blatter is portrayed. I have not much love for that man, but I do believe that he sincerely tries to delevop football in Africa. But that doesn't mean you have to show only his good sides movie! Don't get me wrong they show corruption within the FIFA, but they never really say who is corrupt. What they do make clear though is that Blatter isn't. He is the white knight trying to safe the whole thing. In the end he succeeds and they again didn't even bother to show how.
I still give this movie credit for what it tried to do and it is interesting enough to watch if you like history or football (or both as I do). It just has obvious shortcomings and I can't forgive how they portray Blatter as the unambiguous good guy.
The Miracle of Bern - 9/10
Another sports movie with the main focus on what happens beside the field, but done right this time. I just realize that is the first german movie I review here. The setting is the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland. Though I'd say only about half of the film shows this, the other half is about a german family. The father just came back after being a russian POW for 12 years. He barely fits into the society that has changed so much since WW2. His eldest son is a communist, his daughter dates british soldiers, his wife learned to survive on her own and his youngest son idolizes Helmut Rahn a local footballer and sees him as a father figure.
Much of the movie is the father trying to reconnect with his family and in the end he bonds with his youngest son over football.
Of course it wouldn't be the miracle of Bern if they didn't show it. The campaign is told from the german side, with most matches glimpsed over only the finale is shown in all it's glorious detail. What surprised me is that except Helmut Rahn, none of the the actors that played footballers are actually actors, they were all footballers themself. But their acting was really good! Well I guess Helmut Rahn was the only one who had to be an actor as he has the most screentime and dialog. Still the guy who portrays german captain and Kaiserlauten legend Fritz Walter does a damn good job for layman actor, even if his accent isn't flawless.
Speaking of accents, I have no idea how good this movie is in english (if there is even a dubbed version) as some of it's humorous charm comes from the fact that all the players have their local accents. At one scene it's even somewhat a plotpoint, when Germany defeats Austria in the semi final you hear a radio voice explaining what happens in the match, without seeing it. He just talks about how "our boys are getting over run" but by his accent you can clearly hear that he is austrian, even if it's never mentioned in the monolog. No idea how this is done in a dubbed version.
Anyway a great movie that really captures the spirit of the time and more importantly what this World Cup ment to the german society. This tournament is sometimes even called the real birthdate of the German republic, so yes it was indeed a major historic event for us and the film manages to portray that with great accuracy.
Edit: Something just came to my mind, that I thought would be an interesting bit of trivia: United Passions depicts Horst Dassler, the head of a german sports article producer Adidas, making an exclusive deal with FIFA. The Miracle of Bern has the appearance of Adi Dassler, Horst's father and founder of Adidas, as the equipment supplier of the german team.
BuddhaKeksMember Since 05 Mar 2010
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