Roberts Vinovskis: Working Class Ballet

In the middle of the Euro 2008 I take time to watch a documentary by talented Latvian director Robert Vinovskis about football, seen from an original angle far away from the banality of the commentators that fill my ears every night, but also far away from the drama of the matches themselves. So for me a perfect timing for a distant, cleverly concepted and interesting view on this wonderfully entertaining and sometimes artistically great performance called football.

Vinovskis has invited a coach, some philosophers, a neuropsychologist and two philologists to sit on the pitch and give us their reflections on the game. These comments are surrounded by observational sequences from the 2006 World championship, where Latvia surprisingly qualified. Scenes from the streets and from the stadium, training sessions, beautifully shot, all is thought of in terms of composition and framing, as well as observations from an amateur game, one of those that I used to go to – when a kid – on a sunday morning.

One of the characters says very rightly that there is nothing as bad as a bad football match… but there is always these snapshots of beauty.

The same can be said about this fine film, it is sometimes repeating itself due to its conceptual construction, but it has its moments of brilliance.

Latvia, 2007, 50 mins.  (only in Latvian, as far as I can see)  (page 66)

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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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