About a week ago a good friend of mine and fellow LBf’er Jeff loaned me a copy of the Pelada movie on DVD. I had seen the trailer a while back, but never got a chance to catch a screening so I was excited to watch the film. I’m not an official film critic or anything of the sort so these are just some thoughts I had while watching the film.
If I ever got a chance to make a film, what I would make would be very similar to Pelada, which is why I was so excited when I heard about the film. A good amount of the futbol-centered movies I have watched only show the glamorous side of futbol (think Santi Munez in the Goal series driving his white Lamborghini down the streets of Madrid) and even when they show the “other” side of futbol, it is a bit romanticized. Pelada is as close to the truth as you can get.
I love the fact that two “has-beens’ (what Gwendolyn and Luke refer to themselves in the movie) embark on a journey around the world in search of futbol. What they find is many different forms of the game, each influenced by the unique culture of the place where they were.
The fact that I’m such a futbol nut instantly made me like this film, however there was one thing that didn’t sit well with me from the start of the movie. The two narrators, Gwendolyn and Luke, are fantastic players who never made it professionally. However, they dwell too much on this and it sets a moody tone for the entire film. Their story is one that a great deal of people can sympathize with, hell, I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll probably never play for Arsenal, and this does well as a basis for the film, but that’s all it should be.
Everything else was a positive for me. I loved that they were able to go to different countries and quickly adapt to the cultures of those they played with, putting their biases aside and rightfully letting the locals shine. I’ve seen far too many documentaries that impose a bias on the cultures they examine instead of permitting the cultures to speak for themselves. I especially liked the bit when they were in Jerusalem . The tension between the Arabs and Jews was evident in the film, but for the first time I was able to really see it from their perspective and not from the super-biased American mainstream media.
One of my favorite moments in the movie was the part where the construction workers in South Africa decided to play futbol on their lunch break instead of actually eating lunch. There is something fascinating about guys taking a break from work to play futbol and then going back to building the stage for the world’s largest futbol event.
There are far too many moments to talk about in this post, but I urge you to see this film. Whether you love futbol or not I think this is a great film for all to see. Luke and Gwendolyn may have set out to make a film about futbol, but they’ve done much more. Pelada is masterclass showcase of the different cultures of the world. Futbol is only the thread that holds them together.
– Keep Kickin’. Ebun