Doker 2021 Roman Hodel The Game

In my visit to DOKER online I left the main competition to have a look at the short film competition and my eyes stopped at “Das Spiel”, “The Game” in English, a film for a football fan like me, who right now follows what happens at the UEFA European Championship. With great enthusiasm crossing fingers for Denmark.

The film is Swiss and lets the viewer follow the referee on the pitch and his work with sound access to what he hears from his linesmen and says to them and to the people at the room of VAR, where you find the video assistant referees, who can suggest a change a decision of a refeee, sometimes by letting him run to the screen to study a replay of what could be a foul. Penalty or not penalty.

The focus is on one referee, who runs and runs, talks to the players, gives cards that are red or yellow under great stress having players and fans go against him. There was years ago a feature doc named “Kill the Referee”, this one is a short super-professional film – with the words of the director:

“By closing in on family relationships and on player-referee interactions, the film allows the audience to experience the sheer unbearable pressure of a referee while getting to know the person under the referee jersey: Fedayi San — a human being with fears and doubts.”

(I googled Fedayi San, who is a FIFA referee and has been at international Games, but he is not at the competition that runs right now.)

Will I have more understanding and sympathy for the referee after this film –maybe not all the time, but I am indeed on his side, when the players complain constantly when everyone can see that there is a foul.

“They are like kids”, he says when he picks up his father after the match. 

Switzerland, 2020, 17 mins.

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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.

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