Becoming Zlatan…

… or how I could not get rid of the football player, whose last name is Ibrahimovic, the man who with two goals last week made sure that we Danes do not have a team at the upcoming European Championship. I watched the match with good friend, true documentarian, Scottish Doug Aubrey and his Danish Film Institute commissioner wife Marie Olesen, a football connaisseur, at their place, we survived the Danish defeat thanks to good whisky and a recognition of the fact that Denmark lost to a great player.

I thought the defeat was out of my mind but at IDFA some days later I met Fredrik Gertten, a football idiot like myself, always AGAINST Messi and FOR Zlatan. With a smile he gave me a postcard invitation to the world premiere of the film he and his brother Magnus have made, “Becoming Zlatan”, Danish editor (traitor!) Jesper Osmund.

My luck was that I could not be in Amsterdam for the screening but it was not possible to get rid of Zlatan… On French television, this evening, here in Paris, there was a long focus on Zlatan, Ibra as they call him here, who in this weekend’s French league, for his PSG club, was the leader, and was praised for his football skills. The two

goals were shown, which brought Zlatan and Sweden to Paris in June. Painful!

Back to the film which I long to watch, here is the description from the IDFA site:

The decisive years of Swedish soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimović, told through rare archive footage in which a young Zlatan speaks openly about his life and challenges. The film closely follows him, from his debut with the Malmö FF team in 1999 through his conflict-ridden years with Ajax Amsterdam, and up to his final breakthrough with Juventus in 2005. Becoming Zlatan is a coming-of-age film that captures the complicated journey of this young, talented and troubled player as he becomes a superstar in the international football world. It’s a story about a young talent living under constant pressure: from teammates in Malmö who think he’s too egoistical and only plays for himself; from the tough managers at Ajax who send him to the bench, where he loses his self-confidence; and from his father, who tells the 18-year-old Zlatan: “You’re nothing. You’re nothing special until you’ve succeeded internationally.” Throughout his journey, Zlatan stays true to himself. When he finally succeeds in Italy, he also becomes much more private. Soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović is an enigma, but in this story from his breakthrough years, he gives us a glimpse at who he really is – if even just for a moment.

Sweden, 2015, 110 mins.

Photo from the premiere: Magnus Gertten, editor (Danish!!!) Jesper Osmund, Fredrik Gertten. Jävla Svenskere!

Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3872