Playoff tells the story of legendary Israeli basketball coach Ralph Klein. He became a national hero, when he made Maccabi Tel Aviv into European Champions in the late Seventies, one of ...
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Thierry van Werveke
Playoff tells the story of legendary Israeli basketball coach Ralph Klein. He became a national hero, when he made Maccabi Tel Aviv into European Champions in the late Seventies, one of Israel's first great international sporting successes. But Max became a national traitor equally fast, when he then accepted the against-all-odds job of turning the totally hopeless West-German basketball team - of all people! - into European winners. Max always maintains that Germany - where he was born before the war - means nothing to him, and that training their national team is just another job on his path to NBA glory. But things aren't as simple as he refuses to speak German to the young players. The only person he seems to be able to relate to is a Turkish immigrant woman Deniz, and her cheeky teenage daughter Sema. Max just about falls in love with Deniz - and does succeed in reinventing the Germans as European champions. When he discovers what happened to his own family in the 1940s - it is ... Written by
Egoli Tossell Film
Billed as a thinly fictionalized biography of Ralph Klein the basketball coach, this is a pretty different story that spends most of its time on fictional incidents that are evidently meant to externalize, and lend counterpoint to, the mixed emotions Klein must have felt as his career brought him back to the country the Nazis had driven him out of. You come out of the movie with an appreciation of how sorrow, guilt, and vindictiveness can spur a person on, or hold him back, while refusing to be easily distinguished from one another; but you don't learn a lot about basketball. Like the hero of Riklis' previous movie THE HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER, the Klein character, also estranged from his wife, goes on a journey through the European countryside-- also accompanied by fine music from Cyril Morin-- and finds that the end of the journey holds bigger answers than he or the audience expected.
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