Category: Arts

Iran | ‘As if one were under water’

In Iran, Kreuzberg team learns about football under cover

Berlin, Sept 29 | Filmmaker Ayat Najafi had to content himself with experiencing the centerpiece of his new project, Football Under Cover, as an exile.

At Ararat Stadium in Tehran on 28 Apr 06, Najafi stood outside the arena along with husbands of the women inside—players for the Iranian women’s national team, their amateur opponents, BSV Al-Dersimspor of Kreuzberg, and about 1,000 female supporters.

Israel | Bnei Sakhnin, by cultivating football, hopes to harvest peace

A small Arab Israeli town of 25,000 residents, nestled in a lower Galilee valley among fig and olive orchards, with an illustrious history and a difficult present, has become world famous within the past three years—all thanks to its soccer team.

A new documentary film, Sons of Sakhnin United, examines Bnei Sakhnin’s place as a bridge builder in divided Israel.

Cinema | Top-5 films do not feature soccer on the Sly

In choosing our five favorite football films we have limited ourselves to those available via DVD and to those we have actually seen, resisting the urge to include Le Ballon d’Or (The Golden Ball; France/Guinea, 1994) based on reputation alone.

File under ‘aesthetics’ | 5 epiphanic goals from Marta Vieira da Silva

Normally we do not post goal videos, but that these are goals by a woman—albeit one of the world’s best-known players, Marta Vieira da Silva of Brazil—and that they were scored at a “lesser” football competition, the 15th Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, means that otherwise they will rapidly fade into obscurity, as if they had never happened.

Souls on ‘The Line’ | Guatemala City sex workers turn to fútbol for a sense of who they are

Of football documentaries that favor the human element there is no shortage of late. One of the most recent is Estrellas de la Lí­nea, screened at English-language film festivals as The Railroad All-Stars, about Guatemala City sex workers who in 2004 organized themselves as a football team.

Visual arts | The sixth photo-contest winner

The winner of the quarterly photo contest is posted.

Cinema | Iranian women, in Panahi’s film, move beyond a boundary

The women in OffsideJafar Panahi‘s 2006 production receiving limited release in American cinemas—have “entered a forbidden space before the law has given them permission to do so,” says the Iranian director.

A portrait with fluidity | Preserving Zidane’s day of work on ‘the green of the field’

For art-house and football film buffs in the United States, viewings of the 2006 Cannes Film Festival entry “Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait” likely will be a private or slightly illicit affair.

Women who matter | West Midlands photographer offers clearer picture of grassroots game

Birmingham, England, Feb 14 | When Jaskirt Dhaliwal trained the lens of her Mamiya 7 II on players of Birmingham City Ladies FC, she told them not to smile. Instead, the players were asked to think about their lives in football and all that such a life entails.

‘Mad about football’ | Tackling the stigma of mental illness through calcio, cinema

Rome, Jan 12 | Within the sometimes cynical culture of calcio in Italy, the documentary “Matti per il calcio” (Mad about Football) offers respite from the latest “calciopoli” scandal: the dark dealings linking several of Italy’s major clubs to a pattern of match-fixing and referee seduction.

“Una cura di calcio” says the headline above the film review in La Rinascita della Sinistra. The article suggests the benefits of football in treating the mentally ill and clinically depressed, but also wonders whether the members of Gabbiano FC, the subjects of the movie, recapture some of the joy and life-renewing power that football was meant to provide.

Mind over rattan | In a meld of meditation and footvolley, the Burmese excel

Doha, Qatar, Jan 3 | In the family tree of football variants, cuju begat chinlone begat sepak raga begat sepak takraw.

While this genealogy may be speculative—less formalized and less freighted than that in the first chapter of Matthew—the importance is that the stylized kickball game of imperial China has found expression in the modern era.

Butting in on Christmas | Zidane, Materazzi herald His coming

Including figures from the world of football in the holiday-time presepe could not be sacreligious, as football in Italy certainly takes on characteristics of faith.

Mundane observations | In ‘Worktown,’ games of chance, snapshots in time

Bolton, England | A New Yorker article by Caleb Crain has peaked our interest in the Mass-Observation phenomenon and its relationship to football in Britain. Near the top of Crain’s treatment, “Anthropology of football pools” appears, tucked between “The aspidistra cult” and “Bathroom behaviour,” as one of the potential objects of study.

The culture cup | Copping awards for purple prose, Icelandic chic and fish graphics

FIFA may have its Golden Boot, but notable performances at the 2006 World Cup finals were not confined to the pitch. We present our awards in musical, advertising and website categories, including an homage to our favorite tonsured French footballer.

Trove to treasure | Marañón’s ‘Fútbol y cine’ makes marriage work between film and soccer

Fútbol y cine: El balompié en la gran pantalla (Football and film: The soccer ball on the big screen) represents the most striking book on football—on any subject—to come across our desk in some time. Which speaks volumes, because the text by Navarre native Carlos Marañón is in Spanish—traditional for books published in Spain—and his coveted spot for top football film goes to Victory (1981), the John Huston–directed star vehicle in which goalkeeper Sylvester Stallone has to be told where to stand on corner kicks.

‘Clases de baile’ | Zidane’s dance class takes final turn

Madrid | With pledges “to leave it all behind” and to start playing the game with children, archetypal playmaking midfielder Zinédine Zidane has announced his retirement from football following the World Cup finals.

Typically, the 33-year-old player for Real Madrid and France looked sheepish facing the bank of microphones and cameras at Wednesday’s press conference. “Yes, he is shy,” said France teammate Thierry Henry.

Documenting the passed | ‘Cane ball’ trapped on celluloid

Mandalay, Burma, Apr 20 | Dry dispatches announcing chinlone tournaments appear occasionally in the New Light of Myanmar, the mouthpiece of Burma’s military regime.

The terse pronouncements show that despite the political and economic torpor and the governing junta’s Orwellian logic—the capital recently was relocated from Rangoon based partly on the forecasts of astrologers—a taste for the beauties of “cane ball” remains.

Berlinale | Festival sends soccer cinema soaring

Berlin | At least seven entries can be added as examples of world cinema’s interest in football (see our cinema page). All are currently screening at the Berlinale, the 56th Berlin International Film Festival. Gerd Graus, media chief of the German World Cup organizing committee, describes cultural connection with the sport as broad. The last […]

Cinema | Should Spielberg rethink ‘Munich’ title?

Manchester, England | If Steven Spielberg had thought longer about the title for his latest blockbuster—or if he had spent more time in the north of England—he might not have chosen Munich. “[I]n this country,” writes Brian Viner of The Independent, “the word Munich has a prior claim on popular sentiment, relating more than anything to […]

Xmas truce | Hitler, for one, objects to football on front lines

New York | The New York Times Sunday editions included recollections of the 1914 Christmas truce, during which some 100,000 British and German soldiers sang hymns, exchanged gifts and played football during an impromptu day-long silence (see Nov 23). Lt. Kurt Zehmisch of Germany’s 134th Saxons Infantry recalls in a diary entry: Eventually the English brought […]

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