Just in time for the World Cup, “Brazilian Football Revisited” offers a behind-the-scenes peek guaranteed to touch soccer fans and non-fans alike with bittersweet stories about soccer players. Neither a documentary nor a flashy bunch of hype, pic is a grab bag of well-told tales by filmmaker Ugo Giorgetti, whose common denominator is the brevity of the stars’ careers. Although you don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy this lively film with its colorful Brazilian backdrop, buffs will be the target auds for specialized TV sales.
A group of aging pros, a referee and a young player sit around a bar table swapping stories. For most of them, their glory days are far behind. Their autographed photos on the wall date from 30 years ago, giving their stories distance and the weight of experience.
First episode is typical in its tone. A young sports writer convinces his editor to run a whatever-became-of story about the great player Magic Paulinho, who played with Pele. A contact confides that the former star has fallen on hard times and lives in a slum, but says he will do the interview for $ 400. The editor grumbles but agrees.
Much to the reporter’s surprise, however, Paulinho turns up in a new suit and takes him to an expensive restaurant where everyone recognizes him. With sublime dignity, he pays the bill and leaves a large tip — a lesson in class the journalist will never forget.
This very likable, skillfully written and lensed film brims over with affection for the game of soccer, while it demystifies the aura of wealth and celebrity surrounding the top players. Even the more comic episodes subtly point out how many stars come from Brazil’s slums and return to them when their careers are over. Giorgetti shows a journalist’s talent for telling stories through interesting characters and situations, while the large cast is on the button.