Club histories - politics and nostalgia

Monday, 23 March 2015

Sunday at the 11mm Festival was all about football clubs and their unique individual histories. The spectrum ranged from the political Brazilian documentary "Democracia em preto e branco" (Democracy in Black and White) to a romantic farewell to a venerable old stadium in Stockholm.

"Democracia em preto e branco" looks back at Corinthians Paulista in the late 1970s and 1980s. The team, which was built around former Brazil captain Sócrates, was known as a passionate advocate of democracy. Director Pedro Asbeg shows how the club served as a focal point, bringing together sports, music and politics. His film follows the emergence of the Brazilian rock music scene in the 80s and the "Diretas Já" movement, which lobbied for direct presidential elections and the abolition of Brazil's military dictatorship. Asbeg says he fears that the Brazilian military will be strengthened as the demonstrations against the 2014 world Cup recede into the past. "Democracia em preto e branco" is a thought-provoking documentary.

By contrast, the story of second-division Italian club Bari, "Una Meravigliosa Stagione Fallimentare," is an affectionate fairy-tale. In early 2014, the club went bankrupt, and its unpopular president was forced to resign. It was the beginning of an unlikely resurrection. Fans came back to the stadium, the team began winning again, and thanks to stunts on the Internet and prayers to the club's patron Saint Nicolas, Bari even succeeded in finding a new investor. Marion Bucci's documentary had its German premier in front of a sold-out crowd in Babylon Studio-Kino.

The Swedish documentary " Vi är bäst ända" focuses on Hammarby's former home grounds, the Söderstadion (Southern Stadium) in Stockholm. Built in 1966, the last match was played there in June 2013. Director Andreas Byunér's film is a sentimental look back at the venue.

"Meidericher Vizemeister" (The Runners-Up of Meiderich) revives a bit of nearly forgotten Bundesliga history. The predecessor of today's Duisburg football club, Meiderich SV, shocked everyone by finishing second in the first-ever Bundesliga season. Fans Matthias Knorr, Kristian Lütjens and Michael Wildberg have created an affectionate tribute to a cast of likeable underdogs.

"On Night in Istanbul" takes place against the backdrop of the Champions League final between AC Milan and Liverpool in the Turkish metropolis. Director James Marquand has come up with a humorous buddy movie featuring club football's biggest match.