Cinema | For cinéastes, Fußballfilmfestival offers definitive fixture list

As one should not judge a book by the cover, one should not judge a film by its trailer. But the trailer for Maradona, la mano de Dios, which opened the 11mm Fußballfilmfestival in Berlin on Apr 4, sounds a warning: handle with care.

Reviewer Mereghetti Paolo of Corriere della Serra notes director Marco Risi‘s explicit attempt to structure the biopic, released in Italy in 2007, as a tale of two persons: the publicly worshiped creator and free spirit—he of the flowing mane—for FC Napoli and Argentina and the fallible human vulnerable to drug addiction and infidelity. “It’s not a masterwork,” says La Repubblica.

Maradona features Australian-born Marco Leonardi in the title role. The star of Cinema Paradiso and Like Water for Chocolate has been freed, reviewers write, of the need to replicate Maradona’s physical mastery on the pitch—directors use game footage instead—and can concentrate on the psychological dimensions.

Quite literally, Diego Maradona‘s life has been scored, touchstone moments of angst accompanied by strings and low timpani rumbles. Argentine and Italian production crew and promoters have also realized the semiotic potential in the word Dio (Dios in Spanish). Via typographic jiggery-pokery, the “io” becomes the number 10. In Italian, io means “I,” harmonizing nicely with one of the movie’s trailer-made dialogue fragments: “I am Maradona, and I can do whatever I want.” That Maradona correlates with deity is a leap already taken by fans worldwide and a Rosario-based church.

Sadly, many of the festival’s entries will only be available in the United States in trailer form or, perhaps, as stragglers at domestic film fests. Such appears to be the fate greeting Sixty Six (UK, 2006), not included at the Berlin event but screening Apr 5 as part of the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival. The film from Paul Weiland stars Helena Bonham Carter (A Room with a View, Howards End) as the mother of Bernie, 12, whose bar mitzvah is regrettably scheduled for 30 Jul 1966: the day of the England-Germany World Cup final. The trailer, as always, is available online, as well as a clip with Bonham Carter proving the range of her acting talents—simultaneously dangling a cigarette and launching into a backyard kickabout.

Twenty-eight feature films and documentaries appear at the 11mm event, with a distinct accent on Maradona and various German club sides. We exclude from the list below 11 short films screening Apr 7; these are described on the festival website. (We are most intrigued by The Rolex of Johan Cruyff, directed by Johan Kramer of The Other Final.) Links to film websites or blogs and to YouTube trailers are provided where available.

2008 11mm Fußballfilmfestival lineup

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