Football fans can while away the time until the World Cup starts on 9 June by watching a series of football-themed films from around the world, selected by the historian David Goldblatt, whose new book The Ball is Round: a Global History of Football is published by Penguin in September.
"Most American and British football movies are pretty cheesy," says Goldblatt. "LikeEscape To Victory with Sylvester Stallone and Pelé, about Allied PoWs who use a football match against a Nazi team to escape. And two great films made in Britain, Gregory's Girl and Bend It Like Beckham, are really more about teenagers than football. It seems that attitudes to football in other film cultures are more experimental."
Highlights will include a short by the British director Damien O'Donnell, Believe, about a man who thinks that England will win the World Cup if everyone in England believes it. Also showing is the UK premiere of 2001's Estadio Nacional, a documentary about how Chile's national soccer stadium became a concentration camp for two months in 1973, in the aftermath of Pinochet's coup d'état. Goldblatt calls it "an interesting mix of politics, football and film-making."
The Spanish film Dias de Futbol ("Football Days") is about an unfit, middle-aged, seven a-side team having a mid-life crisis, while for the Tibetan monks confined to a monastery in The Cup, the crisis is whether or not they'll be able to set up a satellite dish in time to see the World Cup Final.
The German film Das Wunder von Bern ("The Miracle of Bern") is a family saga set against the backdrop of West Germany's World Cup victory over Hungary in 1954, and Ginga: the Soul of Brazilian Football is a documentary exploring Brazilian life through the country's favourite sport.
There is also a screening of the 1939 thriller The Arsenal Stadium Mystery (with footage of Arsenal vs Brentford Town, Arsenal's last home game before the Second World War), about the search for the killer of a star player.
2-8 June ( www.watershed.co.uk/football/touring.html)Reuse content