Young Manuel lives with his hard-working farmer parents in the remote, mountainous region of the Colombian countryside. While the adults in their lives try to avoid both the armed military and the guerrilla rebels fighting each other in the area, Manuel and his friend Julián are obsessed with playing soccer any chance they get. Shortly after his birthday, the new ball Manuel received as a gift gets kicked off to a minefield, and he, Julián and their albino friend Poca Luz will do everything in their power to recover their prized belonging – an essential part of their everyday lives and dreams.
2011 – Rating: Not Rated – Columbian Film
7.5 out of 10
So “comet of the century” ISON turned out to be more of a metaphor for life; all that potential, expectation and excitement, followed by an invisible anti-climax. However, I would like to propose a new verb for the English language. Ison: a state of disillusionment; e.g. “the band’s performance was somewhat isoning; or “I’m really isoned by this whole project of yours.” It’s good to invent words.
This is an interesting, watchable but ultimately depressing film. It’s a very simple story about three football-obsessed young boys, whose ball ends up in a minefield. As this is not something that happens very often in the English Premier League, it provides a somewhat different viewpoint of the game. Let’s not forget that the Colombian national team is ranked fourth in the world, whilst England is ranked 13th. There’s a lot to be said for sharpening you team’s reactions with a few, well-placed landmines. What this movie does really well is focus on the story from the boys’ point of view, allowing the realities of the ongoing, three-sided civil war in the area to colour what happens. The insidious effect of the latter on the local people slowly comes into focus as the story moves along. As the kids plot to recover their ball, things around them gradually fall apart and begin to directly change their lives. It’s hard not to feel upset by the situation. There isn’t anyone mowing down half the jungle with a minigun, or 100s of people being blown to pieces in huge, set-piece scenes. Instead you get an insight into the subtle ways conflict changes things. Not nice and very sad. Filmed in the mountains, the scenery looks lush; (as in very green, not sexy). Understated and documentary like, the whole movie feels very authentic and is well worth watching. However, I do wish Americans would learn to spell “colour” correctly; it’s very irritating!
There’s a lot of ‘Spanish sounding’ music in the film. It’s great.
Recommended for football fans, guerrillas, freedom fighters and Roy Hodgson.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? The teacher gets the kids to paint a big mural over the ‘war graffiti’ on the school building. This is probably not the most sensible thing to do if you’re looking for a quiet life, but it is most definitely badass.