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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Homelessness is a problem that consumes our world, from the Americas to
Asia and everywhere in between. As a way of putting a mild relief for
some and showing the world a bit more of the problem, the Homeless
World Cup was started in 2003. The tournament invited teams from all
over the world for a street football tournament (similar to that of the
real World Cup). In 2006, filmmakers Susan Koch and Jeff Werner set out
to chronicle the event, focusing on six individual homeless players
from around the globe. Football is the most played sport in the world
and, while we all know the major professional leagues, there are those
who have never and will never get the chance to be a part of anything
While there have been many great sports documentaries in the past, the wide majority of them focused mainly on the professionals (and aspiring or former professionals) in the respective games. 'Kicking It,' however, took another look and gave the world a view of another side of football. Directors Susan Koch and Jeff Werner managed to take a subject that is both depressing and difficult to watch and make a film that is touching and inspiring (even though it is still quite sad). The filmmakers took a very sympathetic approach without getting too heavy-handed, making the film feel much more real and never once felt as if it was being interfered with. This makes for a film that, while dealing with a very painful subject, is still very much captivating.
If you want to see another side of the most popular sport in the world, don't hesitate to give 'Kicking It' a chance.
Final Verdict: 9/10.
The present of sports: money, sponsoring, fame, corruption, scandals,
doping, ..... sometimes it seems we have forgotten what "the game" is
all about and what it should mean to those playing it. (not just
soccer, a game in general). People are so obsessed with stardom,
statistics, money and the fame that comes with it that they totally
forget why they started playing it in the first place.
Frankly I rediscovered the game when I saw this film! What did I see? Certainly no money, no stars, no fame and no overpriced fan merchandising......but 100% sportsmanship!!!! These people come from the streets, they know nothing about the world, nothing about the joys of life and nothing about a stable life! All of this changes during one tournament. And you as a viewer can witness it! It is very hard to describe the emotion that goes through one's heart when you see people who have nothing growing together and become a team. The players that this film accompanies are very diverse, they all have different goals or develop their goals during their journey to South Africa. But most of all you can see how their horizons expand while they play and meet new people.
This is sports at its core, this is what the game was invented for: to bring people together, to forge a team and succeed in becoming a contributing member in something bigger! While watching it I felt very touched - but not because of sadness but rather because of the true joy that these people express when they master their obstacles.
The film itself doesn't really stand out in any production values (like editing, expensive shots, music, post production, etc) - but what for? The content of the pictures is way beyond anything that high budget productions usually capture. Films like this one are released every few years, a rare gem!!!! If you want to be reminded of what it means to just "play" (and while you do even become a better person) - go and watch this film! I was more than just moved - I was overwhelmed!
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