The Great Match

Director: Gerardo Olivares

Olivares, a veteran Discovery Channel and National Geographic cultural, anthropological and wildlife documentary filmmaker came up with an ingenious story idea for his stunningly photographed comedy about three diverse global groups all striving to catch the 2002 World Cup match between Germany and Brazil on television. While to Western audiences, this doesn’t sound like a difficult feat as most of us are spoiled by our wealth of technological access and have or know others with subscriptions to cable, Direct TV or satellite networks equipped with ESPN for soccer matches, it proves to be quite an amazing journey for our heroes from three distinct locales of Niger, Mongolia and Brazil. The opening fifteen minutes that introduces us to our main characters is actually one of the most surprising and funny foreign film beginnings because it completely plays on western expectations of our inexperience with other cultures—when we meet the wandering Mongolians, the Tuareg caravan of camels in the Sahara and Amazonian Indios, we are immediately entertained by the humorous and warm-hearted dialogue written by Chema Rodriguez. While the eighty-eight minutes of the film does end up feeling a bit longer as it starts to drag from the quick pace initiated from the get-go, this highly amusing film should appeal to those who enjoyed The Gods Must Be Crazy. An official selection at the Berlin, Seattle, Sydney and Karlovy Vary International Film Festivals, The Great Match is brought to American audiences courtesy of filmmovement.com.