realsoccer: Narco-soccer

     |    Saturday, der 27. November 2010
andres Escobar

Soccer is all about representation. Or more correctly, watching/talking/commenting/analysing soccer is all about representation (playing the game’s a different story). Your daughter is kicking it for Berlin club Türkiyemspor, well, you’re suddenly an ambassador of integration, or non-integration, depending who’s looking at you. There’s game strategies, systems and even positions linked to political viewpoints, there’s class transmissibility, class transcendency, class transparency, represented by players, moves, fans and such. And – upping the ante – there’s soccer representing an entire nation, its history, its future, its soul, its very core. Of course, all of this a mind bgame, entertaining at first but bearing the dark tendency of developing a life of its own. (The author himself just recently overcame some embarrassment to admit but manifest prejudice against ‘the Dutch’, but that’s a different story). Thus said, this sporadic soccer thread here on moves its attention to the newest doc from brothers Jeff and Michael Zimbalist (FAVELA RISING) called THE TWO ESCOBARS. Produced within the framework of ESPN’s noteworthy documentary series ‘30 for 30‘ and having had its international premiere at Cannes 2010 its currently hitting the European festival circuit (like this month’s IDFA).

The Zimbalists highlight the very interesting story of Colombian soccer in the 80’s and 90’s by following two major characters of that time, outstanding defense player Andrés Escobar and drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, their lifes – and deaths – inextricably intertwined. Too smart to make this into a black & white, good & evil, ’same old, same old’ story (though some critics can’t help it and do) Jeff and Michael Zimbalist move carefully through the intricate web of hopes fulfilled and/or shattered and about first-world arrogance about the way developing countries work, the ‘war on drugs’ (and people) and of course – soccer.

An outstanding story – and a great example of serious sports documentary.  This is something to watch out for, at the movies (most likely not) and hopefully soon on