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Ginga - The Soul of Brasilian Football


Contrary to popular sports-bar wisdom, there are athletic diversions out there beyond the borders of Leaf Nation. To see how deeply a single sport can root itself into a nation's psyche, check out Ginga, an hour long documentary detailing soccer's all-encompassing power featured at this year's RESFEST.

From the shattered dirt and concrete fields of Brazil's slums to the finely manicured pitches of the rich we view soccer in all its forms in a country where 20% of the population live in spirit-crushing poverty. For most of them, the only hope they have comes from religion and soccer; often, the two are indistinguishable.

Ginga follows 7 individuals who are soccer players. Most are hoping for a shot at becoming professionals though one single-legged man is attempting to join the Para-Olympic team and another is happy to play for a top amateur team. What soccer represents to all of them is hope. Like religion, soccer is ingrained into these people and its hold runs so deep that succeeding in soccer is something akin to becoming enlightened.

Though it's interesting to see the different stories, I was disturbed to notice that all 7 people highlighted are men. The point is made when we are shown a few short minutes of footage of women who either juggle soccer balls or play a kind of beach-volleyball with their feet but none of these women are allowed to play the true game; or, if they do, we don't see it.

We DO see plenty of hot-pants-hungry-bum clips (particularly in the beach scenes) and there are many slow, lingering shots of bare midriffs and zeppelin-like breasts.

This could be the filmmaker's intention. The women are nothing but eye candy and don't seem to have a voice. Perhaps in Brazil, soccer and (by extension) hopes, dreams, and enlightenment are only for men....

Ginga is being shown on Thurs. Oct. 27, at 9pm at the Royal Cinema, 608 College St.


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