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Stadium Coup

Produced by Gerardo Herrero, Sandro Silvestri, Maura Vespini.

Produced by Gerardo Herrero, Sandro Silvestri, Maura Vespini.

Directed by Sergio Cabrera. Screenplay, Claude Pimont, Ben Odell. Camera (color), Giovanni Mammolotti; editors, Fernando Pardo, Nicholas Wentworth; music , German Arrieta, Gonzalo Sacarminaga; art director, Federico Garcia Cambero. Reviewed at Cines Princesa, Aug. 2, 1999. Original Spanish title: Golpe de estadio. (Spanish dialogue.) Running time: 105 MIN.

With: Emma Suarez, Nicolas Montero, Cesar Mora, Raul Sender, Andrea Giordana, Lorena Forteza, Humberto Dorado.

A high-octane mixture of “Victory” and “Men With Guns” in comic key, “Stadium Coup” is an intelligent parable built around a single strong idea: that one game , soccer, unites people while another game, war, divides them. But pic regularly teeters on the brink of incoherence, and its subject matter — a three-way power struggle on the long road to peace in Colombia — is unlikely to ignite offshore passions.

Twenty-minute opening sequence centers on a U.S.-owned oil tower protected by the Colombian military, headed by Sgt. Garcia (Cesar Mora), from guerrillas led by Maria (Emma Suarez) and her lover, Carlos (Nicolas Montero). The Colombia-Paraguay qualifier for the 1994 World Cup is also taking place, and when Colombia scores, a happy helicopter pilot accidentally destroys the tower. Pic slows through the central section with peace negotiations, plus subplots including a gunrunner (Andrea Giordana) and glamorous Italian journalist (Lorena Forteza). In casting Suarez, Forteza and Raul Sender, pic bears the scars of its co-production deal: All are implausible. But behind its farcical framework, the movie has a delirious energy, scattering satirical bullets far and wide to good effect. Action sequences are well lensed.

Stadium Coup

(COMEDY -- SPANISH-ITALIAN-COLOMBIAN)

Production: An Alta Films release (in Spain) of a Tornasol Films (Spain)/Emme (Italy)/Sesamo (Colombia) production, with participation of TVE. (International sales: Alta Films, Madrid.)

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