Soccer Cinema at the Labia
4-10 June, Call Labia to book: 021 424 5927

The African Dream: The Black Star

The Ball

FC Barcelona Confidential

Black Star: An African Odyssey

Drogba Fever

The Game of their Lives

Irie Style

Kicking It

More than Just a Game

Maradona by Kusturica


The Other Final

Panenka against the rest of the world

Soccer Muti FC

Zuma the Puma

Soccer Cinema Films:

*thank you to all those filmmakers & production companies who made their films available to us free of charge


Maradona by Kusturica


Director: Emir Kusturica,  Duration: 120min,  Year: 2008

Courtesy of Videovision


This is Maradona: the footballer, the man, the husband, the father, the drug-addict, the intellectual, the legend, the revolutionary, the god. Two-time Palme D’or winner Emir Kusturica traces the remarkable story of Diego Maradona who has a reputation as the people’s champion, an athlete who rose from humble beginnings to achieve worldwide fame and respect.  Maradona reveals details about his life that have never come to light in the public eye.  A conversation with Cuban leader Fidel Castro highlights how even the most powerful personalities become awestruck while speaking with Maradona. Kusturica values Maradona not only as a virtuoso player but as man with a political view.

Drogba Fever 

Director: Naashon Zalk,  Running Time: 24 min 

Courtesy: Naashon Zalk

Didier Drogba is a household name to many, in the Premier League he plays centre forward for Chelsea - but back in his home country of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Drogba is a ground breaking leader that has been able to impact on history. Leading the Ivorian national team, known as 'The Elephants', to their first World Cup qualifier in 2006 - this qualifying victory disrupted fighting between North and South and started unifying his country.  Drogba has since become a spokesman for peace and reconciliation. He has been involved as a community leader and this, in addition to his phenomenal ball skills on the field, has stirred what's called Drogbacité - Drogba Fever!  The film providers a short glimpse of the player, his impact on soccer and politics, what is happening on the streets of Abidjan and how Ivorians celebrate Drogba Fever.


Irie Style 

Director: Sharon Farr,  Running Time: 23 min

Courtesy: Shoot the Breeze

The Marcus Garvey football team, based at the Phillipi Sports Complex in Cape Town, is participating in the Coronation Tournament, an event in which they compete against seven other Rasta football teams. This tournament is a very festive affair, with DJs, much partying and an enormous bonfire that burns for the duration of the seven days of celebrations.  The team members have plans for 2010 which include becoming tour guides and being incorporated into the Cape Flats tour route.  

Soccer Muti FC 

Director: Naashon Zalk,  Running Time: 23 min

Courtesy: Naashon Zalk

Vivian Mphotshane is a priest who runs a football team in rural Kwa Zulu Natal. He’s also a believer in muti and uses ritual medicine to secure his team’s successes on the pitch. Vivian believes the use of muti should be allowed at the 2010 World Cup™ and believes he has the panacea that could secure Bafana Bafana a winning place! This documentary sees Vivian pit his team against their arch rivals, using muti as the secret weapon.

The African Dream: The Black Star 

Director: Manu Riche, Running Time: 156min, Year: 1997

Courtesy: Manu Riche

In most African countries soccer players lead a poor existence, let alone that their sport will ever enable them to support themselves. Therefore it is not surprising that, when they get the chance to start a life as a professional soccer player elsewhere - usually in Europe -, they eagerly seize the opportunity. After all, in many cases they have to support their families as well. Hoping to discover new ‘Babangidas’, European talent scouts travel to Africa and offer all kinds of trial contracts to young players. The African Dream: The Black Star follows the vicissitudes of the 16-year-old Nigerian boy Indy N‘Duibuisi, who has been given employment at a Belgian club by one such soccer broker. The young player gradually finds out that he is merely a pawn in an obscure game.

Photo: Jon Bang Carlsen

Zuma the Puma 

Director: Jon Bang Carlsen, Running Time: 30min, Year: 2002

Courtesy: Jon Bang Carlsen

Snow is lovely when you see it on television but cold when you're standing in it, as South African football player Sibusiso Zuma realized when he left his country for the first time and flew to Denmark to play for FC Copenhagen. On the soundtrack Zuma describes his childhood in a poor township while the visuals cross cut between South African children playing ball and the professional Zuma the Puma in action during a match between FC Copenhagen and Lazio in Rome.  

The film is the story of sports stardom as a way out of the ghetto, and of the problems and loneliness associated with being black in a white world. It is only on the pitch, absorbed for a moment by the game, that Zuma is able to forget his pain and his past.


The Other Final

Director: Johan Kramera, Running Time: 78min, Year: 2003          

Courtesy: KesselsKramer

The Other Final an unforgettable film about love, football and a faulty loudspeaker. It's also about making the impossible happen: of cultural meeting, and social engagement. An old-fashioned story in a modern world. The Other Final tells the story about a remarkable football game, which captured the imagination of the world. It was played on June 30th 2002, the same day that 4.1 billion people were watching the final of the World Cup in Japan and Korea. The game was played by the two lowest ranked Fifa-teams in the world; Bhutan and Montserrat, (numbers 202 and 203 respectively). Bhutan is a remote Himalayan kingdom with the most mountainous terrain in the world and Montserrat is a small Caribbean island with seven active volcanoes. The game was played in the Changlimithang stadium, Thimphu, Bhutan's capital. 

The film uses football as a device to explore the very different cultures of the two teams involved, but also to show how football can prove to be a global language that unites very different people and countries. The film beautifully explores the similarities, and the differences between both cultures, as it follows the build up and preparation for the game.  Through the film, we are introduced to a variety of people, from a Christian priest in Montserrat, to a group of monks performing traditional music in Bhutan, government ministers, local dignitaries, pop stars. And of course, the football players, most of who are not professional, and for whom the opportunity to take part in this game was a dream come true. What is perhaps most remarkable is that the game took place without commercial sponsors and advertising. It was free to attend for spectators, and was undertaken in a spirit of good-sportsmanship. 

Newspapers and television stations from over fifty countries reported news of the game, proof that there is still an appetite for an old fashioned approach to sport, and that achievement is not always about taking part, sometimes just getting there is an achievement. The Other Final is the inside story of this remarkable event.  The film has a beautiful website.


More Than Just A Game

Director: Junaid Ahmed, Running Time:89min, Year: 2005  

Courtesy: Videovision

Told through the stories of five former prisoners, this is the story of political activists sent to Robben Island in the 1960s who rise above their incarceration by creating a football league and finding an outlet for their passion and commitment to discipline through the Beautiful Game.  In the energetic, dangerous urban landscape of the late 1950s, five youngsters are weeks or even days away from being arrested. Their backgrounds are as diverse as their personalities, but all share an activist’s zeal and a desire to change the racist status quo. ANTHONY SUZE is a hothead and athlete, a world away from the cool, introspective activism of MARK SHINNERS or the steady, stock

y rugby-playing LIZO SITOTO. Others have come to the struggle in their own way: SEDICK ISAACS, the impassive bomb-making schoolteacher; MARCUS SOLOMONS the non-aligned guerrilla. But all are targets of the state, and all are destined to spend their youth on Robben Island.    

The island is more brutal than they ever imagined. Nobody, they naively believed, could be cruel enough to send schoolchildren to the Alcatraz of Africa. But as the reality of their new life dawns on them, with its eternal cold, brutal warders and nagging hunger, so too does the sense of community and shared purpose. The physical hardships – exemplified in the hulking person of DELPORT – are extreme, but there is refuge in learning and in comradeship. A philosophy of excellence is applied to every task, no matter how brutalising: the prisoners take pride in building the most escape-proof prison they can. And ultimately there comes the realisation that there is humanity to be reclaimed in sharing a love for sport and fair play. The seeds of soccer are sewn.    

It is not an easy journey. SHINNERS’ requests for soccer to be allowed is a war of attrition, and ISAACS must apply the strict disciplines of his highly trained mind to his mission of spreading sport throughout the prison community. But at last the authorities relent, and informal soccer kicks off on Robben Island.    

But recreation is only half the aim. To the prisoners, all steeped in the ethos of debate, dialogue and negotiation, it is not only essential that sport takes place, but that it is seen to take place in a well ordered and highly structures manner. The Makana Football Association is formed, based on the principles of inclusivity, collective discipline, and fair play. 16-year-old Dikgang Moseneke is elected Chairman, an act that underlines the Association’s commitment to excellence and FIFA-like technical rigour, rather than hierarchy, party politics and personality.    

The Association is a microcosm of democracy, a training ground not only for the body but for the political soul, where the principles of negotiation and dialogue are practiced and entrenched. It is literally the training ground for the leaders of the future. It is also a happy collective ripe for upheaval…  (visit the site here)

Director Junaid Ahmed


The Game of Their Lives 

Director: Daniel Gordon,  Running Time: 83min,  Year: 2002   

Courtesy: Daniel Gordon

Directed by Dan Gordon 'The Game of their Lives' is about the 1966 North Korean football team who knocked tournament favorites, Italy, out of the World Cup finals in England.  The film also provides a rare glimpse of life in modern day North Korea, particularly the lives of the surviving players. Nominated for Best Newcomer and Best Historical Documentary at the prestigious Grierson Awards and received Royal Television Society Award for Best Sports Documentary.


Panenka against the rest of the world

Director: Jan Gogola Jr. (pictured above)  Running time: 29 min,  Year: 2001

Courtesy: Jan Gogola

This is an arty, humorous 
film, which is neither a documentary nor pure fiction. It focuses on the renowned footballer of the 1970s and 1980s, Antonin Panenka, and the philosopher of nonsense and happenings, Eugen Brikcius. Appearing alongside the narrator/sports commentator Brikcius and actor/football Panenka is Pavel Landovský, first as another footballer and later as an unseen spectator. The film ends with the famous archive footage from the European Football Cup in Belgrade in 1976 - Panenka's game-winning penalty kick. The film may try and prove that life can be “played” as a wholehearted game and at the same time approached with a degree of rational detachment.


The Art of Football


Director: Hermann Vaske,  Duration:  90mins,  Year: 2006

Courtesy: Hermann Vaske


It is always a good idea to define something from A to Z. It is even a better idea to define Football (the one that is actually played with both a foot and a ball) from A to Z. It is obviously a fantastic idea to have Thierry Henry, Michael Ballack, Mia Hamm, Káká, Pelé, Arséne Wenger, Pierluigi Collina and Brigit Prinz explaining the beautiful game they play better than everyone (except Ronaldinho). The class and humour provided by John Cleese, with several references to the Monty Python legacy, works as intermission between the statements and the precious footage of amazing moments of the Football history. All in all, a pretty good documentary about the past, present and future of this sport that moves hordes of people around the World.

Black Star: An African Odyssey

Director: Paul Yule,  Running Time: 54min,  Year: 2008   

Courtesy: Paul Yule

Black Star: An African Odyssey follows Chelsea footballer Michael Essien and his return to Ghana to play for his country at the 2008 African Cup of Nations, within the context of the importance and unifying influence of football in Africa.   A journey to Ghana to explore Africa's changing relationship with football.  With the 2008 African Cup of Nations setting the scene, the focus is on the highly marketable Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien: the rock upon which Ghana's football team, the 'Black Stars', is built. It soon becomes clear that Essien is a hugely important figure in Ghana, and not just in terms of football. People like he and Didier Drogba have made a difference to Africa's sense of its own power. 

Meanwhile, the tournament itself represents the continent's ongoing struggle for greater integration. Indeed Ghana's first President in 1958, Kwame Nkrumah, saw football and the Cup of Nations as a means of doing nothing less than uniting the continent.

As the sport grows in Africa through football academies, reality TV shows and highly lucrative sponsorship deals from Europe - and with an eye on South Africa hosting the World Cup in 2010 - the film asks: Does Africa itself benefit from the amazing development of its football? or is this just a new scramble for Africa by the European powers? (website link here)



Director: Jafar Panahi, Running Time: 93 min, Year: 2006

Courtesy: Celluloid Dreams

Who is that strange boy sitting quietly in the corner of a bus full of screaming fans going to the football match? In fact, this shy boy is a girl in disguise. She is not alone, women also love football in Iran. Before the game begins, she is arrested at the check point and put into a holding pen just by the stadium with a band of other women all dressed up as men. They will be handed over to the vice squad after the match. But before this, they will be tortured... They must endure every cheer, every shout of a game they cannot see. Worse yet, they must listen to the play-by-play account of a soldier who knows nothing about football. Yet these young girls just won’t give up. They use every trick in the book to see the match. A beautiful and intense story, a smart and touching mix of comedy and catastrophe, illustrating the violation of women’s rights in Iran. Site link.

Director Jafar Panahi and family members were arrested in March this year and have only just been have released! Read the stories here and here.


Johan Cruijff

Director: Ramón Gieling,  Running Time: 90 min,  Year: 2004

Courtesy: PVH Films

Johan Cruijff, was not only the world's best football player: in 1974 he was also a great leader, inspirator and a calculating tactician both on and off the pitch. His class went beyond football and gave Catalans the pride they desperately needed after the oppression endured under the fascist Franco regime.

While Gielieg's film includes beautiful footage of Cruijff - originally from the Netherlands - as a player and as a coach at Barcelona Football Club, but the passion of the Catalan people plays the central role in this movie.  Interviews feature Catalans talking about how Cruijff changed their lives - even humorously, as he became significant in shaping Catalan identity, barred from expressing itself under the Franco regime. One journalist recalls how Cruijff even influenced the Spanish language by translating sayings from his native Dutch directly into Spanish. And, a man is brought to tears talking about the 0-5 victory against Barca's greatest rivals Real Madrid.

The title 'en un momento dado' means: in a given moment - and it was an expression apparently popularized by Cruijff in Spain.


The Death Match


Director: Stelios Kouloglou,  Duration: 52 mins,  Year: 2002

Courtesy: Stelios Kouloglou


The incredible story of the soccer club 'Dynamo' of Kiev, Ukraine - one of Europe’s finest. It is one of the legendary events of World War II. After Kiev was occupied members of the Dynamo team played a “friendly” game with a team picked from the German army. At half-time a German officer came from the Commandant’s box to the Dynamo dressing room and ordered them “not to play so keenly” and threatened that they would be shot if they did not obey. The fans, completely unaware that the lives of Dynamo were threatened, cheered them on to a score of 4-1.The German administration was outraged and decided that they had to teach the Dynamo Untermensch a lesson. The powerful and “ever victorious” German Flakelf team was invited. But this German team also lost to Dynamo and not a word about it appeared in the newspapers. The Ukrainian team was given three days to think about their position and on August 9th there was a “friendly” rematch. In spite of the pressure Dynamo again in its fifth game defeated the German team - for the last time. Most of the Ukrainian team members were arrested and executed in Babyn Yar, but they are not forgotten. There is a monument to them in Kiev and their heroism inspired the film Victory starring Sylvester Stallone and Pele.



Gods of Brazil

Director: Jean-Christophe Rosé,  Running Time: 70min,  Year: 2002 

Courtesy: Nick Fraser

Who was the greatest footballer of all time? According to BBC Commissioning Editor, Nick Fraser, most money will be placed on Pele. Gods of Brazil, however, offers an alternative. It suggests that the crown should go to Garrincha (it means "little sparrow"), a diminutive, near-disabled adolescent from northern Brazil who preceded Pele by a few years and built the Brazilan team's international success with him.

But this film is a treat because it's made with an astonishing eye. The French director Jean-Christophe Rosé has made a series of films about sport, becoming something of a connoissuer in relation to the use of archive.

You can wonder at the goals scored, I watched the film again and again. But you will also come away with a greater knowledge of just how it was that football was completely reinvented in the early 60s by Pele and Garrincha.

Read an interview with Alex Bellos, correspondent for the Guardian and Observerin Rio de Janerio and the author of Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life, here.  (Picture at right: Garrincha at World Cup 1962 - source wikipedia)


FC Barcelona Confidential

Directors: Daniel Hernández & Justin Webster,  Running Time: 81min,  Year: 2004

Courtesy: Justin Weber

FC Barcelona is the biggest football club in the world. Its 102,000 shareholder members all have seats at the Nou Camp, Europe's biggest stadium and the right, every four years, to elect the Club President - the dream job for thousands of ambitious, patriotic Catalans! In 2003, thanks to poor domestic performances and spiralling debt, the club sank into a historic crisis. With the promise of reform, a new regime was ushered in under the leadership of the charismatic Joan Laporta. With unprecedented and exclusive access, the film directors spent a year at the Nou Camp documenting the new board's efforts to turn an old-fashioned Catalan family affair into a global football business.

The cameras are in the boardroom, commentary boxes, directors' homes and even zoom in on contract negotiations with big name players.  It is impossible to ignore this film for the insight it brings to the inner workings of this football club.  Barca have similar problems to most clubs but their management structure is very different.  It is the management side that the film comes from: following Laporta and his team as they try to move past the old regime at the club and move it into a more modern, solvent and global business. At the same time we also see the contract dealings, the pressures on results and the oxymoron that is football financial planning – the directors sweat every point and their plans are based on results that are in the hands of the players.


Kicking It

Director: Susan Koch (pictured above),  Running Time: 98min,  Year: 2008

Courtesy: Susan Koch

What do a junkie from Dublin, a bank robber from Spain, and war refugee from Afghanistan all have in common? They all are soccer players in teams competing in the Homeless World Cup! Kicking It chronicles the lives of seven players taking a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country at the Cape Town 2006 Homeless World Cup. Najib from war torn Afghanistan; Alex from the slums of Kenya; Damien and Simon from the drug rehab clinics of Dublin, Ireland; Craig from the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina; Jesus from the overflowing public shelters of Madrid, Spain, and Slavan from the shadow culture of the illegal rural immigrants to the big city of St. Petersburg, Russia. [D-Man2010]

The Homeless World Cup that was first established in 2001 to give homeless people the opportunity to better their lives through sports. Five years later, 20,000 homeless people had competed on street soccer teams, with 500 players selected to represent 48 countries in the fourth annual Homeless World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, in the summer of 2006. Here, seven players are profiled who become heroes on the soccer pitch and find a way out of their situations.
  View the trailer here


The Ball

Director: Orlando Mesquita,  Duration: 5min,  Year: 2002

Courtesy: STEPS

Somewhere on a dusty soccer pitch in Mozambique, a group of boys are playing a game of soccer. Suddenly a man runs onto the field shouting. He stops the game and accuses the boys of stealing his condoms. There are different ways to use condoms. In Mozambique, young boys are great
consumers of them...

The Ball takes an amusing look at condom use in Mozambique, where around 20 million condoms are distributed annually. Considering that 4 million Mozambican men are sexually active, this means that each man only uses 5 condoms a year. However, a large number of condoms are used by children to make footballs.

Determined to carry on playing, the boys go off to buy new condoms to make another ball. The ball is ingeniously constructed by wrapping the inflated condom first in a plastic bag and then in a piece of cloth and binding it up in string. Oh no, the string runs out! They see the baby's jacket hanging out to dry at the side of a nearby house and decide to use that instead. They pull a loose strand of wool and start binding the ball. The little jacket is soon totally unravelled and the boys get back to their game.

A goal is finally scored! The ball goes shooting off into a nearby house, where it lands in the lap of the old lady who made it in the first place. She gets out her knitting needles and has soon reconstructed the jacket, which she hangs up once more.

Director's Biography:

Orlando Mesquita has made over 30 films since 1984 as an editor, director and producer. His work covers features (editor/assistant director in Disobedience, 90 min, 2001), educational programmes, and many documentaries. He has been involved in projects which have documented just about every aspect of contemporary Mozambican life, from the roles of women to the war and its aftermath of refugees (editor in A Arvore dos Antepassados, 50 min, 1994) and demobilized soldiers (editor/director in A Caminho da Reintera - 23 min, 1997). In 1999 he won a Kuxa-Kanema best video Award for his work as co-director and editor on Community Stories (6X 26 min, 1999)

Director's Comments:

The Ball is a fun football story, in which the children have found an interesting way to make a football using a condom.

Making this film made me relive my own childhood, also in a poor neighbourhood in the north of Mozambique, where we made similar balls, the big difference being that instead of using condoms, we used bladders of animals which after being filled would be transformed into balls in the same way as we can see in the film.  Naturally these two realities, distant in time but so near in form, captivated me and making me give myself over passionately to the making of this film.

Accordingly for me it is a homage to poor children, many of them orphans in this central region of Mozambique, whose creative capacity gives rein to them enjoying themselves like any other child in the world.

Making a ball from condoms is only one of the examples of how many children use condoms for fun. I hope that when people see the film they really enjoy themselves, but fundamentally that they hold onto how mistaken our statistics are in relation to condom use.  (website link here)

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