Infinite Football | Chicago Reader

Infinite Football

Of all the Romanian New Wave filmmakers, Corneliu Porumboiu (Police, Adjective) has the best sense of humor; his sweet-and-sour approach balances a stingingly satirical view of institutions with a warm acceptance of kooky individuals. That tension between cynicism and humanism is most pronounced in this short documentary feature, which profiles a middle-aged bureaucrat named Laurentiu Ginghina who’s determined to change the rules of professional soccer. Ginghina envisions a version of the sport in which players are limited in their movement, thereby turning the focus of the game from athleticism to the movement of the ball. Porumboiu encourages his subject to speak at length, not with the purpose of making him look foolish, but to emphasize his idealism and thoughtfulness. Ginghina’s new rules turn out to be laughably disastrous when actually put into practice—but such, Porumboiu notes, is the nature of idealism, whether rooted in communist, capitalist, or soccer-based ideology. In Romanian with subtitles.

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