Fredrik & Magnus Gertten: Becoming Zlatan

Traitor, I said a long time ago to Jesper Osmund, who has edited the film about Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the magnificent Swedish footballer, who ”killed” the Danish ambition to qualify for the European championship. A Dane to help the Swedish brothers from Malmö (!) make a film about the young Zlatan and his first years as a professional player, going from Malmö to Amsterdam to Turin, from Malmö FF to Ajax to Juventus! A good film, a very good film actually, and as you could read in a previous post from the other day, a film that is out now, where Zlatan still, at the age of 34, does magic on the pitch and hopefully will do the same for Sweden in France in June, when the European tournament starts.

For a football fanatic the film is gold. You see where he comes from, you have interviews with him, you get a sense of (with Ajax manager Leo Beenhakker’s words) his conflicted nature, you see him being aggressive and violent in matches, you see him score goals and get booed by the audience when he does not, it’s all so very well composed going back and forth in time, there is a kind of melancholic tone in the film that is also about a young player on the top, who is a very private person at the same time as he through growing up learns how to behave, or does he? His tribute to Malmö and the quarter Rosengården, by donating a football pitch, is there and beautiful indeed it is.

For me, I did not remember that, it was especially interesting to get the description of the rivalry between Egyptian player Mido and Zlatan when in Ajax legendary Ronald Koeman was the coach and suddenly had too many strikers. An anecdotal story about a pair of scissors flying from Mido’s hands through the air in the dressing close to hit Zlatan, who then was the only one who came forward to defend his rival in the media. It is fine to hear Koeman as it is fine to hear Capello, who was Zlatan’s coach when he came to Juventus, when Ajax became too small for this fantastic football player.   

Sweden/Holland, 2016, 85 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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