MADRID – Preparing for Cannes, and the Brazil FIFA soccer World Cup, Latido Films has taken international sales rights to “Maracanazo: The Football Legend,” the human story behind still one of the biggest sporting upsets in history: the 1950 Brazil vs. Uruguay soccer World Cup final.
Directed by Sebastian Bednarik and Andres Varela, and mixing vigorosly-edited footage, and voice-over commentary with surviving team members, historians and journalists, and a building match by match chronicle, “Maracanazo” narrates a defining moment Brazilian history.
On July 16, 1950, Uruguay, a team stitched together before the match – it started preparing the World Cup with no trainer, nor money, nor public support – beat Brazil, the World Cup host country, by 2-1 in the final match, played in Brazil’s new Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which could house 125,000 people.
A gleaming symbol of modernity, Maracana and a World Cup win was intended to confirm Brazil’s status as a world power, said sports writer Carlos Da Silva.
But Brazil lost before a 210,000 estimated crowd – the biggest to this day for a soccer match – , after taking the lead, and scoring 13 goals in their prior two matches. The psychological consequences of defeat roiled for decades.
The Maracana defeat that coined the term “Maracanazo” (literally: the Maracana blow) rears its head as this year Brazil enters the 2o14 Word Cup soccer final as one of its favorites, aiming to reach a final which, in a hoped-for act of collective exorcism, will once more be played again in Maracana.
Produced by Andres Varela at Montevideo’s Coral Cine, and recuperating pristine restored and original footage, “Maracanazo” is a story of underdogs, and how Brazil underestimated the Uruguay team and one of the most extraordinary captains in soccer history, the now pretty much forgotten Obdulio Varela, who also lead Penarol in Montevideo, a city of just two millions, to become – arguably – the best Latin American club side in the 20th century.
Commanding and charismatic – he delivered a pre-match pep-talk which ended with the famous phrase “Boys, outsiders don’t count. Let the show begins” – having before the World Cup co-lead players’ union action against soccer clubs, demanding basic rights for players, Varela also lead his national team to victory.
“The only ones who believed in us were ourselves,” Uruguayan player Julio Perez remembers in “Maracanazo” more than 60 years later.
Uruguay’s team believed “even more, having a strong captain like Obdulio Varela. If you said to Obdulio Varela you were going to lose, he’d probably have choked you to death, Perez added.
Backed by Ibermedia, “Maracana”is also produced by
Uruguay’s Tenfield and Arissas Miltimedia, a Rio de Janeiro-based production house, behind 2010’s Directors’ Fortnight entry, “The Joy.”