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:: Ginga - The Soul of Brasilian Football

The Brazilian obsession with football reaches far beyond any sort of passion. It is a way of life; a love affair with the sport, a part of life embedded so deep in the genetic makeup of Brazilian players, it is often indistinguishable from religion.

“Ginga: The Soul of Brazilian Football”, is a documentary which explores this rich influence from the roots of seven real young boys, trying to make it in the world of football, most of them wanting to reach far beyond the restraints of their poverty-stricken neighbourhoods.

The dynamic film attempts to define ‘Ginga’, a quality so mystical it is almost indefinable, by exploring the raw talent each of these boys possess. It is superiority only Brazilian people enjoy and is evident in any sort of movement they do. The way they walk, talk, dance and approach everything in their lives. Ginga is what gives Brazilian football players their fluidity and rhythm on the pitch. It is what enables them to Joga Bonita (Play Beautiful).

This magical quality is what many describe to have helped Brazil triumph as world champions a record five times. And when you are able to watch a young boy who may never play on a national team, play with sticks and rocks as goal posts in their local “park” (wherever they find space); it is obvious that all Brazilians are born with the unique quality.

Throughout the story sequences of the various players it becomes more and more obvious that football to these youths is like a rite of passage in Brazil. An intimate portrait of the lives these young boys live is painted on a canvas and the audience is quickly able to sympathise with each individual story as the hardships and determination unfold.

For some there is the hope to one-day play in a professional league, for others, the top of the amateur ladder is enough. But when the story of Wescley unfolds, real heartache is felt. The aspiring football player found himself in an accident and lost one leg. However, it wasn’t long before he learnt how to play the game using just one leg, showing nothing will stop some from the love of the sport – especially in Brazil.

The film ends with comments and amazing action from two of the country's great players, Falcao (from the past) and Robinho (present day player). This however, takes nothing away from the talent of the other boys whose stories are almost more inspiring because of the fierce challenges they face. Throughout the documentary Brazilian beats are heard, adding richness and vibrancy to each sequence. Graffiti animations along with maps divide each tale and provide a colourful tone for audiences of all ages.

Ginga was produced by Fernando Meirelles’who is renowned for his amazing pictorial sequences in ‘City of God’. It is a remarkable piece which highlights how rich a nation can be - without the wealth. At many points during Ginga you lose track of the poor conditions these players live in because you realise that no one should ever underestimate the power of a passion and where it can take you – whether it be football or dancing.

DVD Extras

Featurettes, interviews

The featurette focuses on the graffiti artists who paint and draw their football heroes.

There are interviews with established football stars.