Thursday, March 13, 2008

Euro 2008 Film Festival: Group D, Spain

Film Festival Rules & Guidelines

Film selected (Year, Director): Torremolinos 73 (2003, Pablo Berger)
Rating: 9/10
Rules compliance: All rules met
Relevance to Soccer: Changing tactics, sexy football

As the game continues to change, a team must also adapt and change their tactics otherwise they will start losing games and no longer be a force. The same goes for some salesmen as well. Eventually, they reach a point of saturation with their sales and have to resort to different tactics to make new sales and attract different customers.

The Spanish film Torremolinos 73 starts off when an encyclopedia salesman (Alfred played by Javier Cámara) is told that he needs to adapt to the changing economy as consumers are no longer interested in buying door to door encyclopedias.

However, the solution offered by his boss is a little risky and involves the salesmen selling "reproduction encyclopedias" which examine the different reproduction habits of European cultures. The encyclopedias are to accompanied with a Super 8 video of the salesman copulating with his wife/girlfriend.

Whenever a new soccer manager gets hired by a soccer team, he often promises "sexy football". A decade ago, Ruud Gullit promised to bring "sexy football" for Newcastle only to fail in his promises. When Avram Grant took over Chelsea last year, he promised an entertaining brand of football, something more sexier than adopted previously by Chelsea. But so far it has proved that the talk of sexy football was mere talk. In soccer, there are no prizes for playing sexy football and so the harsh realities of winning games mean that Chelsea are still playing the regular boring football which is working for them.

Even though playing sexy won't win prizes in soccer, in real life sex does sell. This is something that Alfredo and his wife Carmen (Candela Peña) find out. Initially, Alfredo is reluctant about the Super 8 videos but the financial benefits are too much to turn down. He relishes his opportunity and turns into a full fledged ace film director and is not shy to different different camera angles to shoot his wife with.

Eventually he writes his first film script and wants to make a film like Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal.

Alfredo's addiction with film reminded me how the main character in the Polish film Camera Buff took to film. In Camera Buff, Filip eventually learns the compromises that one has to make while making movies. In Torremolinos 73, Alfredo also learns how to make some concessions for the sake of art, even if that means suppressing his principles and even putting his feelings for his wife aside. While Camera Buff bordered more on the serious side, Torremolinos 73 is a hilarious film with some great lines and perfect expressive performances from all the characters.

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