BFB at the Box Office: Shorts

Today is a momentous day for it is now–right now–that you, dear reader, get not just one brilliant movie review, but two. Wowza, right? Yes.

These short films will be shown during this week’s Kicking and Screening Film Festival (which I do not have  a stake in, I should say) and you should totally stop by and see them. Check it out and maybe attend if you live in the NYC area. Tonight is the first night!

Blind Ambition
Director: Chris Bridger

Produced and Directed by Chris Bridger, Blind Ambition is the story of an Englishman who has risen to the top of the soccer world, but despite his serious talent is nowhere near being a household name. Simon Hill, who you’ve never heard of is, is blind. If it weren’t real, it’d be a great piece of comedy, but it is real and it is about the sightless playing the beautiful game.

The rules are different—a ball that makes noise, you have to verbally declare when you’re making tackles, the goalie can see—but the passion is the same and, truth be told, the skill levels are pretty high.

It’s a short, only 12 minutes long, and I would have liked it to be about a hundred times longer. Chris isn’t particularly compelling, but then again, we have so little time to get to know him that we’re left with a sort of cliché blind guy doing great things feeling. He plays for West Ham and England and we don’t have any idea what that means, really, other than it means there’s a lot left to be explored here.

I know very few blind people, truth be told. Some legally blind folks, yes, including a woman my brother dated for a few years, but no one who is blind blind. Like, would play blind football blind. Yet I still relate immediately to this movie because it’s not about being blind, it’s about playing a game and loving doing it. And at this point I’m pretty seriously considering giving it a try.

Rättskiparen (The Referee)
Director: Mattias Löw

Most of us know the story: Thierry Henry slaps the ball down with his left forearm, crosses for William Gallas to head home, and Ireland is eventually left fuming and out of the 2010 World Cup. There are calls for the summary execution of a whole host of people, from Sepp Blatter all the way down to the grounds crew. The most vitriol is, of course, reserved for the referee, a Swede named Martin Hansson.

Rättskiparen, directed by Mattias Löw, documents the year leading up to Hansson’s great mistake. It follows him in all of his endeavors on the field and is granted access to him in his home and behind-the-scenes at the stadium. For those interested in the world of high-level referees, there are scenes where he jokes with stadium guards, tours the field before kickoff, and has a post-match hug with his colleagues after a good match, but the meat of the film is him as a private citizen.

In a world where it seems fairly acceptable to demonize referees—Tom Ovrebo, Wolfgang Stark, and now Hansson—The Refereemakes a strong case for the humanity behind the stern face of on-the-field authority. Hansson is a divorced father with split custody of 2 boys and lives in the woods of Sweden. He works as a part time firefighter (never onscreen) and full time referee, he trains, coaches a local team of youngsters, and he goes fishing. His neighbors refuse to talk to reporters about him, reject money to take video of his house, and warn Martin when there are journalists around looking for a scoop. His life is hardly the stuff of Hollywood legend.

FIFA still selects Martin for the World Cup despite an earlier prognostication that any mistake will mean the end of his chances to be in South Africa and half of the drama of the film is lost in the feeling that “oh, well, okay.” The central problem of the film is that there is no enemy. You’re instantly sympathetic towards Martin, who, in the clear light of day, is just a referee doing his job, but then the rest of the film seems to merely repeat that message.

Make no mistake, it is an enjoyable film and an intimate look at something few of us know about, but it is perhaps of more interested for soccer fans than film fans. The pace is slow despite its length (just 28 minutes) and there are moments of gratuitous, if beautiful, shots of trains. It is well made, but simply isn’t long enough to really discuss how horrible it is that the family has had to go into hiding after controversial decisions. It is commendable that this version of The Referee follows the life outside the field rather than focusing on the field of play itself, like the other The Refree (El Arbitro) that played at Kicking and Screening last year.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.

82 Comments

  1. Blau-Grenade
    July 20, 2011

    Oh yes, two more movies added to the watch list. Thanks Isaiah.

  2. July 20, 2011

    Whoa! (from the Twitters)

    Peeps #Arsenal they were told NOT to print a shirt for cesc FOR SATURDAYS GAME!!!!! Read it properly!!!!

    –Fernando Felicevich (agente A.Sánchez) en su llegada a Barcelona:”No puedo decir nada pero falta muy poco”. Paciencia, sean pacientes culés. (“I can’t say anything, but it’s very close.”)

    • Lev
      July 20, 2011

      didn’t the BBC report something similar one or two weeks back? (about the cesc shirt)

      • July 20, 2011

        Most likely it is because of the neverendinghamstring injury.

        BBC reported that the official shop was pulling all of the Fabregas stuff from its shelves. But again, who knows?

    • July 20, 2011

      I don’t see anything, really. He’s not playing on Saturday, so the people who are running the friendly won’t print a shirt for Cesc. Big whoop.

  3. July 20, 2011

    guus, if you remember last year Isiah saw a movie called El Arbitro (the referee) about a ref at the espanyol v barca game. I found it on youtube with spanish subs, but I am looking for it w/ english ones too. If anyone knows where i can find it with english subs, lemme know

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHtmJ38rKIA

  4. jordi™
    July 20, 2011

    Paraguay reach the Copa final without winning a game.Meanwhile, Mass brawl at the end of the game.South America 😈

  5. July 20, 2011

    I’ll be looking out for these films when they come around here. 🙂

    As for the Copa America, I’ll admit that I was rooting for Venezuela up to the penalties. I knew I’d get some perverse pleasure from Paraguay getting to the final without winning a single match.

    Scary thought: they could just as well win the Copa America without winning a match. 🙁

  6. July 20, 2011

    The Power of Pathetico is strong with Paraguay. Getting to the Copa final without winning a match? Who says clubs and international teams aren’t alike? 😆

    • outerspacedout
      July 20, 2011

      I think of recent Argentina as the Atletico of national teams lol. Great attack, hilarious defense, a propensity for catastrophe, crazy news and characters, terrible and famously corrupt management and administration (Gil, Grondona), impressive at times then flattering to deceive, much better on paper, occasional epic meltdowns (6-0 Bolivia, 4-0 Germany), overall being a horribly run awfully handled historically big very talented set of underachievers.

    • Ryan
      July 21, 2011

      This does have a sense of Atleti’s Europa League triumph, doesn’t it? They haven’t looked especially dominating in their wins, yet somehow in the final. Forlan’s on the other side this time, though.

  7. K_legit
    July 21, 2011

    So today’s the 57668778th time that the media swears Sanchez signing is hours away

    • outerspacedout
      July 21, 2011

      God, can’t you get anything right? It’s the 57668779th time!

      • K_legit
        July 21, 2011

        via Barcastuff:
        The meeting between Barcelona and Sanchez’ agent takes place at the Princesa Sofia hotel in Barcelona, close to the Camp Nou. [onda rac1]

        So? good news? no news? news?

  8. Reaper
    July 21, 2011

    If we have 45m to begin with of which we are using 27m or 28m to get Sanchez – and with a minimum of 10m that we hope to get for Bojan and 5-7 for Jeffren.. that leaves us with roughly 35m to sign a second player..

    … now if only there were a player who wanted out (secretly), was valued by his club at 40m and we were willing to pay 35m for.. Hmmm think man think!

  9. July 21, 2011

    Well, as I understand it we didn’t use all of last season’s dough. There’s also the 45-50m for this summer, coupled with sale proceeds from Caceres, Krkic, Ibrahimovic and (soon) Jeffren. Those four will add another 20m or so to the pot, exclusive of a) spending from next year’s fee kitty (defenders will be a priority, cheaper than attackers); b) that super-secret Prodigal Catalan slush fund that seems to exist.

    I would be very surprised if we don’t get the OCGH deal done this summer. Bartomeu and a delegation have traveled to Arsenal to get the deal done.

    As an interesting side note, Udinese came to us to get the Sanchez deal done, even though they had the commodity. The fact that we are going to Arsenal says something.

    • Jnice
      July 21, 2011

      I don’t think the 8m we got this summer from Ibra went towards transfers. I read it went towards our debt or something.

  10. Lev
    July 21, 2011

    1a. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaarhg! Vinotinto really didn’t deserve to go out like that. Then again neither did Chile, I guess :S

    1b. Amazing how the first 90 minutes of a game can be soooo boring and the overtime soooo exciting!

    1c. Mass brawl at the end. Leave it up to Venezuelans to start a fight when the party is over. At least nobody got shot for once…

    1d. I must admit I am now openly rooting for Paraguay to win the final by way of a penalty shoot-out to make them the first team to ever win a tournament without winning a single game. (@I guess I share Jose’s perverted footie soul :p )

    2. Honestly guys, do you really think that Jeffren will net us 5-7 million? When we let Caceres go for 3? Ibra for 24 to be paid over 3 yrs after a 1 yr loan? Ronnie for however little we let him go for?
    5 to 7 hundred thousand is closer to the amounts that have been branded around here, me thinks 🙁

    • outerspacedout
      July 21, 2011

      Perverted footie soul or just perverted soul? *cough*LarissaRiquelme*cough* 😀

      • Lev
        July 21, 2011

        huh? who is larissa riquelme? (googling her photo right now :p )

    • mei
      July 21, 2011

      All we can do lev is talk about the numbers talked in the press , and thats what they say about jeffren.
      Generally ,transfer fees are seldom reported by the clubs officially.
      Most transfers contain undisclosed fees etc.
      Ronaldinho didnt go for little money.
      We got 19 million for him(we could get more but wanted to go to milan) while he had majorly underperformed in his last two seasons prior to the transfer , especially in his last one.

      • Lev
        July 21, 2011

        all fair points, mei. Personally I don’t think he is worth more than 2-3 points and unless we sell a player to Man City, Barcelona never sell a player for more than he’s worth.

        I guess 19 million was fair enough due to Dinho’s last two seasons, but had we sold him a year before (something i did not necessarily supported) he could have gone for 80. Incredible how prices can drop.

        • mei
          July 21, 2011

          I think a fair example of how much prices can vary would be Ibrahimovic .
          We all may be cursing upon our transfer negotiators for paying an inflated price when we signed ibrahimovic, and we got ourselves an underpriced deal when selling him.
          Yet both prices were fair. Well, if not fair understandable.
          Ibrahimovic coming off an excellent season , the last of several ones ,off a champion team that didnt need to sell when we had to buy.
          The story of us selling him was similar. Some will pin that on Rosell’s ridiculous management but I dont think thats the case.

          • Lev
            July 21, 2011

            Well, I never agreed with selling Eto’o in the first place and although I (mistakingly) had good hopes Ibra would be excellent for us I always thought the price was ridiculous, from Barça’s point of view. That was on Laporta though (or probably more on Txiki, Cruijff and Pep).

            I also feel that it might have been better to not sell Ibra and put him on non-active to hold out for a better deal – he might have accepted Man City in the January transfer window after not playing for six months. We have never learned what exactly went on behind the scenes between Ibra and Pep and Barça those last days that we decided to sell him though, so it is hard to judge.

  11. Josep
    July 21, 2011

    What we know so far;

    1. Bartomeu is in two places at once according to John Cross and Carlo Giarganese (the only good goal.com writer) who claim he is in London.

    2. He’s actually in Barcelona doing Sanchez’s negotiations.

    3. This has been one of the most hyped and disappointing Copa America’s, the only thing that can save it is some Larissa Riquelme goodies.

    4. Someone will pay 7m for Jeffren? Take it. Vidal who has a similar contract (expires in 2012) just went for 12m. Vamos!

    • Lev
      July 21, 2011

      “most hyped and disappointing”

      funny how these things often go hand in hand ; )

  12. July 21, 2011

    From the Twitters:

    There are now deals Udinese-Barcelona and Barcelona-Sanchez. Last details between Alexis Sanchez and Udinese are now being dealt with [rac1]

  13. July 21, 2011

    The “Blind Ambition” trailer, from YouTube:

    http://youtu.be/iK54QG7AG20

    And to echo what Isaiah said above, it’s about the passion. Like me, a masters athlete who eats right, trains like a fiend and pursues a sport just because I love it, I understand passion. Everybody has something that brings them passion, that they pursue out of sheer love and sometimes, pigheadedness. Moving stuff. Very moving.

  14. mei
    July 21, 2011

    Barcelona is cashing in the great season B team had.

    • PhepheSa
      July 21, 2011

      I love Romeu. Is this good or bad cos I don’t know how I feel about this. Jnice? or anyone who knows more about the B team.

  15. Para
    July 21, 2011

    Has there been any further information about Pique’s calf? He trained on his own today because his calf was overburdened (according to the official website), but I didn’t see any more information.

  16. Josep
    July 21, 2011

    Now word is out that Udinese are in no rush and the deal won’t be concluded into tomorrow.

    MD reporting Oriol Romeu to Chelsea for 5m and a buyback. Makes no sense. Doubt it.

    • mei
      July 21, 2011

      Essien injured for half the next season.
      Makes some sense

      • Lev
        July 21, 2011

        I read that Khedira is out for 4+ months also

      • Jnice
        July 21, 2011

        Essien out so they turn to Romeu? And it makes no sense on our part. We have two great defensive midfielders, yes, but if one of them get hurt/suspended/or have to drop to the backline, that means there is only 1 pure DM on the first team. Romeu showed last year in the Supercopa against Sevilla that he isn’t out of his depth. He would definitely get Copa minutes as well.

        I will be pissed if this turns out to be true and we sell him to Chelsea.

        • jordi™
          July 21, 2011

          But its 5 millions! Oh my God we can clear our debts :roll:

        • barca96
          July 21, 2011

          If loan then it is a bit understandable but SELL?? No way… He looks the most ready from the B-team. IF he goes to Chelsea is not like he will get playing time.

          However, I would love it if it was a LOAN. It will do him and us good in the future. He can learn the English way and become stronger physically.

          But dont sell. Just a loan.

        • CReddy
          July 21, 2011

          I would be very unhappy too. I think he is one of the better midfielders to come out of the B Team. Very good on the ball, pretty versatile – can play defensive or box to box. I am really hoping he stays and gets a chance with the 1st team.

        • mom4
          July 21, 2011

          Like we haven’t heard that one before…

          How the heck are you feelin’, blitzen?

        • mom4
          July 21, 2011

          OK, I’ll bite and continue the joke:

          fichaje imminent who?

          • blitzen
            July 21, 2011

            SANCHEZ! Or did you not just see the news? 😀

            (I’m feeling much better as of this morning, thanks. Finally done with the fevers/chills/sweats. Managed to eat a little. I’m even at work but only because this is a haven of airconditioning and it is scary hot out there. How am I gonna get home???)

          • mom4
            July 21, 2011

            1. Yes, see below :p

            2. So glad you’re getting better! 😀

            3. 115F heat index here and hotter tomorrow 🙁

  17. mom4
    July 21, 2011

    barcastuff
    Official: Barcelona announce the transfer of Udinese attacker Alexis Sanchez (22) #fcblive

    Is it real?

  18. The__K__Man
    July 21, 2011

    FCBarcelona_cat

    L’Udinese i el @FCBarcelona_cat han arribat a un acord definitiu per al traspàs del jugador Alexis Sánchez, que firmarà per 5 anys #fcblive

  19. mom4
    July 21, 2011

    Now, for the love of Messi, don’t give him the #9!

  20. K_legit
    July 21, 2011

    So what number is this guy gonna get?

    • mom4
      July 21, 2011

      The 9 is cursed…well not for Eto’o…the 9 is cursed recently.

      • FalseNine
        July 21, 2011

        I’m not afraid of the 9. Like you said, Samu did it proud. As for Zlatan, well, he was still Zlatan; it didn’t change him any. Really it’s just Bobo who wilted with that on his back. I’m going to blame the player, not the number.

        Probably 11 for Alexis, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the 9. Of course, Pedro should get the choice of either if he wants them…

        • blitzen
          July 21, 2011

          Pedro should take the 11, but I think he likes his 17 for a personal reason.

  21. Roz
    July 21, 2011

    So we are not going to die after all. Yayy. Can not wait to see how he fits in. Excited!

    • mom4
      July 21, 2011

      That’s not the appropriate cule spirit. Try again:
      We’re all gonna die…

        • mom4
          July 21, 2011

          There, now things are as they should be!

  22. Ryan
    July 21, 2011

    Barca’s official FB page has announced the transfer as well – visca!

  23. Ryan
    July 21, 2011

    You guys think there’s any chance he could make an appearance in the Man U friendly in 9 days? 😀

    • mom4
      July 21, 2011

      A girl can hope.

      You’re from the Balto/DC area too, right? We should warn the others about the evils of driving into, out of, through, or around DC!

      • Ryan
        July 21, 2011

        Yep, I’m getting my master’s here! And yeah, around 90k people (from what it sounds like so far)should make driving to the stadium a bad idea.

        • mom4
          July 21, 2011

          Toying with the idea of parking at a station and taking the Metro, but not sure they run late enough and it may be more trouble than it’s worth.

  24. FalseNine
    July 21, 2011

    Exciting! Not surprising, but still exciting.

    So I assume we’ll be getting a Bojan press conference soon, too? See you round the block, kid. Hope you make us want to exercise that buy-back option (though I wouldn’t bet on it).

  25. Eklavya
    July 21, 2011

    ALEXIS!! Yay!!! I got my wish woot!

  26. mom4
    July 21, 2011

    our depth (including who is capable of playing out of position)
    Keepers: VV, Pinto, + Bteamers
    RB: Dani, Adriano, Puyi in a pinch,
    LB: Abi, Adriano, Maxwell(?), Puyi in a pinch, Fontas in a pinch
    entire right side of pitch: Dani
    CB: Puyi, Pique, Abi, Mashe, Busi, Fontas
    DM: Busi, Mashe, Keita in a pinch(?)
    CM/AM: Xaviniesta, Keita, Thiago,3M, Busi, Messi
    Forwards: MVP, Sanchez, 3M, Iniesta in a pinch
    Not bad. Cesc could give us forward/AM/CM and maybe even DM flexibility. Still don’t know if I wan’t him but I love how flexible our guy are(= talent!).

    • Vj
      July 21, 2011

      No Milito 😀 #iseewhatyoudidthere

      Seriously, sign some defender in his place..

      • mom4
        July 21, 2011

        Capable of playing a position well enough for Barca!

        position:
        FAFFM (Fellow Argentine Friend for Messi): Milito, happy now?

    • FalseNine
      July 21, 2011

      I believe Gabi Milito is still under contract 🙂 But I guess this is a list of who’s capable of playing what position, so I guess his absence from the whole list is fair enough!

      That’s 20 players. I’m still expecting a full press on Cesc, but after that hoping for a little attention paid to depth, especially on the defensive end. It’s great that all our players can play multiple positions if only one person gets hurt, but when there are multiple injuries you get stretched. It would be great to have another CB, or if Busi and Javier are also going to be backup CBs, a backup DM. Especially if we’re sending Romeu to Chelsea.

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