Football and Film

Football and Film

What once was a nervous flirtation has become a passionate love affair.

Football and film have discovered that they have a lot in common, and the “football film” has established itself as a genre. The astonishing variety of subject matter reflects the fact that football has transcended its historical origins and become a broad social phenomenon. Football films depict the social and cultural background of the sport all over the world, its unique ability to simultaneously signify norms and rebellion, riches and poverty, solidarity and fanaticism.

Today’s audiences are increasingly comfortable with football films and football as an element within cinema. That’s of course the result of football’s growing popularity throughout society. Football is an ideal métier for storytelling. The sport is full of wonderful images, sympathy and antipathy with protagonists, bitter defeats, tragic heroes, etc. etc. The same is true of cinema. Moreover, football is one of the few remaining societal phenomena capable of bridging social gaps. Individual interests disappear when the ball begins to roll.

Football contains the sort of archetypes and figures of identification needed to tell cinematic stories, and many football films provide material for further discussion and intercultural dialogue. Talking about sports – the exchange of specialized knowledge and opinions about football across social boundaries – is an easy way of encouraging audience members from a wide variety of walks of life to communicate with one another.

Football speaks the same language all over the world and thus provides cinematic access to diverse problems and ways of life. In this sense, it functions as a basis for intercultural learning

Football is much more than a game – and football in film is a wonderful way of bringing culture into play.

Jan Tilman Schwab, Author
Football in Film – Lexicon of Football Films

Birger Schmidt, Director
11mm – The International Football Film Festival