Netflix: Captains of the World

2012. Hotel Prezident in Sremski Karlovci in Serbia, style Louis XVI, cherubines in the background. It is late sunday evening and our only way to watch el classico Barcelona against Real Madrid was to go online via some unauthorized links on the computer… To the right Zoran Popovic, co-director of the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade, photo taken by his wife Svetlana, with whom he directs a festival that this year can celebrate its 20th edition, I have been on board as selector from the very beginning.

Zoran Popovic was the one, who told me about the Netflix series, 6 parts around 45 mins. each, made in collaboration with FIFA. I watched it as the football idiot I am, spending hours in front of the screen, I can´t see Messi any longer as he plays in Miami but my loyalty to FC Barcelona is untouched; I appreciate the coach Xavi’s attempt to bring the young players back to the level that he and Leo delivered also in 2012. Another quote from the 2012 experience in Serbia: … take a look at analytical Popovic and his finger explaining to the Dane that Messi’s first goal was a good one, and not par hasard as Xavi cleverly blocked a Real player to get near to Messi… Yes, Xavi was a great player, indeed!

The Netflix series – watch it, as a film it is not good with its constant quick cuts between the games but you are sent back to the 2022 World Cup with a focus on the captains of the teams. They are primarily interviewed after the event in Qatar, looking back on the success and/or failure of their team, with a lot of clips from the matches, interviews with legends like Gary Lineker and Peter Schmeichel, and much material from archive and from reactions “back home”, of course especially from Buenos Aires when Argentina and Leo became the well deserved champions. The cuts from one match to the other, to compare, does not work, for me it is more disturbing than taking you into the drama. You are not given time to enjoy the art of football! Oh, if there had been a director to make longer sequences… and not all captains are interesting to watch and listen. Some are like wonderful Brazilian Thiago Silva, who knows that this is/was his last World Cup, without getting to the final. Asked if he would go home after the defeat to Croatia, no he says, and he (39 years now) still plays in the Premier League. Croatia’s captain Luka Modric is not so interesting in interviews but a cameraman has caught a conversation between him and the Croatian goalkeeper Livakovic, Modric putting a lot of “trust yourself” into the goalkeeper, who became a hero at the World Cup taking several penalties. Candid camera…

For the Danes: Great to meet Danish captain Simon Kjær in his home in Milan with his family and follow the reactions of his wife and child to the bad performance of Denmark. Losing against Australia!!! But without the captain on the pitch. The sympathetic Kjær talks in a fine way, also about the incident with Christian Eriksen, where he was a true hero, and quotes with a smile what his son said after the defeat in Qatar: There is one good thing about this: You will come home earlier, Dad! Not to forget when Kjær at the stadium goes to his father, who is always there to support. Consolation!

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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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