2014 World Soccer Movies

Brazil is the country where dreams will come true or crushed at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but there’s no buzz about producers cutting deals to make films about it.

I don’t know any films with a soccer theme.  Even Bollywood, the richest film producer on earth shuns such films. The reason is pure logistics.  How will the director shoot such a film?  First of all exterior shots: most scenes will have to be shot outside. 
That’s very risky thanks to good old nature.  The weather bureau said it will be sunny today.  Guess what?  Freak showers!  Oops!  Says nature, I changed my mind.

Film production is expensive.  Producers lose money when a day’s shooting is wasted.  Investors don’t want to be told that they should come up with another $10 million to finish the film.
The camera and the goalkeeper
Action!  Scenes where the soccer hero is in bed with the heroine are cheap to make.  That is why there is always a sex scene in movies.  The director only needs a room with a bed and rose petals spread all over it, if he wants to win an Oscar.

A director will have to shoot on a soccer pitch if he’s making a soccer film.  Let’s start with the goal keeper.  The cinematographer will move the camera crew to the goal posts, light his face and take a close-up of the goalkeeper on his hunches, waiting for the ball.

How many takes will the director call on that shot alone?  He needs shots of the goalkeeper leaping into the air trying to catch the ball. 
He needs another one where the ball slithers down like a cunning snake along the net bar, away from his gloved hands. Forget scenes where soccer players score goals with their heads.

The camera and the hero
Director will need more than one close-up of his feet on the ball, the sign language with his team mates, him lifting his foot ready to strike and him jumping for joy when he bangs the net.

Penalty shots have a lot of drama.  Camera assistants moving reflectors around to light the hero. Long shots.  Medium shots. Close-ups.  Shots of the nervous coach who knows he won’t have a job after Brazil, if he loses.  Referee shots.  Shots of linesmen. It’s a lot of work even if the cinematographer is using multiple cameras.

Soccer fans control
Audience reaction.  That is a producer’s nightmare.  Where will she get at least 400 extras to represent Ghana and United States fans?  She must think about what they’ll be wearing.  They must visit the make-up trailer before the director calls action.  Transport.  Food. The cinematographer might want special equipment to light the stands. 

That’s it.  It’s a wrap.  No soccer films. We’ll just stick to boy meets girl, courtroom, cop and infidelity dramas.  The bar scene!  How can I forget the bar scene?  All these are contained in one location and use cheap props.
Soccer movies are a production nightmare, thanks very much.  I won’t be around for the 2014 FIFA Cup final to see the tears of the winning and losing teams.  I’ll rather be in Ontario, Canada watching the tears of the Niagara Falls.
Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness the novel.

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