Reviews - Next Goal Wins
Next Goal Wins
Reviewed By Chris Coombes
Keswick Film Club has always tried to support new British film directors who find it very hard to get their films shown; most cinema releases are dominated by the big film distributors who have no interest in anything that doesn't guarantee lots of money! With this in mind, the club has a specific weekend once a year where we show two 'micro' budget new films and try to get the directors to come along and answer questions about their films.
The first film on Sunday was unusual for Keswick; it was not just a documentary, but one about football 'to boot'. 'Next Goal Wins' had received fantastic reviews from the critics, even those who didn't like football. American Samoa became famous in 2001 when their national team lost 31-0 to Australia in the world cup. The directors Mike Brett and Steve Jamison managed to get the team's co-operation in making a film about their attempts to improve; they had the guts to carry on trying even though they had never scored a goal in an international, but they did want to lose the stigma of being the "world's worst international team" in the FIFA rankings.
As it turned out the team got the assistance of Thomas Rongen, a Dutch manager who went over with a month to go before the playoffs began for the last world cup. Concentrating on his attempts to turn a totally amateur bunch of enthusiasts into a team, Brett and Jamison pulled off a movie which is not just about football, but about spirit, not just about the team improving, but Rongen throwing off the tragedy of losing his own daughter by learning from the Samoan way of life. The Keswick audience joined the critics in cheering when they scored their first goal... The mix made for a really good movie; a shame that the good weather and probably the subject matter put off all but a lucky few who saw it.
Brett and Jamison were forced to cancel their trip to talk to us (as they were at work on their next film), but sent a very good recorded interview about their film.
The second movie of the day was 'Here and Now', a totally different experience! A slow burning, beautiful film set in the heart of Herefordshire, where the countryside shared top billing with two young people falling in love. Grace, a young London streetwise kid is forced to go on holiday with her parents to the back of nowhere, where she meets Say, a young country boy who 'says nothing if there is nothing to say', but gradually shows her that there is more to life than smart phones and noise. She in turn pulls him out of the blues he has been in since watching his father die 3 years before. Admittedly it was too slow for some of the audience, but very beautiful to most of the others; either way, another excellent movie from a new director – Lisle Turner.
The day ended well with both Lisle Turner and Clair Coache, one of the stars, giving us the lowdown on the whys and wherefores of making the film. The British film is very much alive and kicking.
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