The Beautiful Game: International Football Films

The Beautiful Game: International Football Films

10 Episodes

Soccer, er, football fans rejoice: just in time for the World Cup, this champion lineup of films celebrates the world’s most popular sport. Spanning pitches from Europe and Asia to Africa and the Middle East, these eclectic tales go well beyond the standard sports-movie clichés of adversity and triumph, crossing and subverting genres to examine the intersection of sport and culture. Stories of women who risk everything to participate (OFFSIDE, FREEDOM FIELDS), Shaolin monks who bring kung fu to the field (SHAOLIN SOCCER), and one man’s obsessive quest to revolutionize the sport (INFINITE FOOTBALL) illustrate the power and worldwide impact of a phenomenon that is truly more than a game.

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The Beautiful Game: International Football Films
  • The Beautiful Game: International Football Films Teaser

    Episode 1

  • The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick

    Episode 2

    Directed by Wim Wenders • 1972 • West Germany
    Starring Arthur Brauss, Kai Fischer, Erika Pluhar

    Adapted from a novel by Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke, Wim Wenders’s first theatrical feature crosses Hitchcock with Kafka for an arresting study of existential ennui, violence, and the lure of Amer...

  • Forza Bastia

    Episode 3

    Directed by Jacques Tati and Sophie Tatischeff • 1978 • France

    In 1978, Jacques Tati traveled to the city of Bastia on the island of Corsica to document the exuberant lead-up to what would ultimately be a memorably muddy, waterlogged match between the hometown heroes and their visiting Dutch riv...

  • Gregory’s Girl

    Episode 4

    Directed by Bill Forsyth • 1980 • United Kingdom
    Starring John Gordon Sinclair, Dee Hepburn, Clare Grogan

    The breakout sophomore feature by Bill Forsyth is a lovably offbeat romantic comedy that brought renewed attention to the Scottish film industry. Gregory (John Gordon Sinclair) is an awkward...

  • The Cup

    Episode 5

    Directed by Khyentse Norbu • 1999 • Bhutan
    Starring Orgyen Tobgyal, Neten Chokling, Jamyang Lodro

    Soccer fever seizes the most unlikely of places in this supremely gentle, warmhearted tale of tradition and change, the first feature film made in Bhutan. After fleeing Tibet, two young boys (Kunsan...

  • The Second Game

    Episode 6

    Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu • 2014 • Romania
    Starring Adrian Porumboiu, Corneliu Porumboiu

    Cinema doesn’t get much more minimalist—or more casually inventive—than this unique experimental documentary from Corneliu Porumboiu, which consists solely of a videotape of a snowy 1988 Bucharest socce...

  • Mirage

    Episode 7

    Directed by Szabolcs Hajdu • 2014 • Hungary, Slovakia
    Starring Isaach De Bankolé, Răzvan Vasilescu, Orsolya Török-Illyés

    In this tantalizingly enigmatic neo-western, Francis (Isaach de Bankolé), a mysterious soccer player from the Ivory Coast, turns up in a small Hungarian town. Escaping from th...

  • Infinite Football

    Episode 8

    Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu • 2018 • Romania
    Starring Laurentiu Ginghina

    Romanian New Wave leader Corneliu Porumboiu (12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST) directs this at once hilarious and poignant look at an ordinary man’s extraordinary ambitions. Ever since a leg fracture ended his aspirations of beco...

  • Freedom Fields

    Episode 9

    Directed by Naziha Arebi • 2018 • Libya, United Kingdom

    An inspiring love letter to sisterhood and the power of sports, this courageous, gorgeously shot documentary from Naziha Arebi follows three women as they attempt to establish the first female soccer team in postrevolution Libya—a dream met...

  • Diamantino

    Episode 10

    Directed by Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt • 2018 • Portugal
    Starring Carloto Cotta, Cleo Tavares, Anabela Moreira

    When bighearted but dim-witted Portuguese soccer hunk Diamantino (Carloto Cotta) blows it in the World Cup finals, he goes from superstar to laughing stock overnight. His shelt...