Football England-Croatia

It had all that a documentary should have. Conflict, drama, magical moments, excellent observational camera work! The starting point was made clear from the very start: The Croats did not have to win, the English had to win or make a draw. Both teams had their supporters surrounding the pitch, in different colours, with different songs – most of them were English as the action took place at the Wembley in London, the most famous location for a drama to take place.

In the first part of this live documentary where all was taken in one shot, to be repeated from different angles, the Croats showed their technical skills and fighter instinct. Twice the anti-hero, the goalkeeper of the English were passed. The first time he kneeled down to grab the ball but it slipped and the crowd, as a Greek choir, expressed their anger with him as the ball rolled into the net. Close up on his face: Pain. Close-up on the faces of the coach and the substitutes on the bench – more than pain, more than irritation, would this end up as farewell to the qualification, a tragedy.

In the second part of the drama, the English casted a man, who has often been the main character, the leader of the gang and who now has his home in Hollywood and takes part in the fictious glamour life: David Beckham. Who was welcomed by the supporters, who had forgotten all the trouble he had given them earlier in his career. He made a difference and suddenly it was equal, enough for the English to qualify. Wild handheld close ups of a hugging crowd when the man, tall as a lighthouse, Crouch is his name, let the ball go from his chest down to his right foot and behind the Croat goalkeeper.

Equal… but not enough drama, something had to be done dramaturgically. The Croat coach, known for his many years in England, had changed his dress from sporty casual to a nice black suit. From fighting image to strategical thinking. He chooses to send in a bald guy like Beckham but much younger and with more dynamite in his boots. In a beautiful move he sends the ball behind the tragic hero in the English goal.

Its over, there is winner and a loser, the English coach is the first to leave. His face is caught by the camera, he has no future, we know it, he knows it. Beckham is already in his thoughts back in Hollywood, John Terry and Mickey Rooney, both unable to play look like someones who could commit murder…

5 pens, could have been 6 if not for the commentators on Danish TV2 Sport, who spoke about the match with a kliché filled language as they were communicating to imbeciles.

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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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