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Thursday, August 4, 2011

333. Les Arbitres (The Referees)


    Now you're talking. After reviewing a whole host of pastimes I know nothing about it is the turn of my passion: the beautiful game.
    And even more likely to spark me off is the subject of referees.
    Director Yves Hinant manage to access all areas of the men in the middle during the 2008 European championships.
    That means we get to hear miked up action from big games, dressing room recriminations and congratulations, tough after-match debriefings, and the cut-throat during tournament hirings and firings.
    Yes, football fans, referees are not only seen to be human beings but we actually see explanations of controversial decisions.
    Makes you wonder why the authorities don't take this video and realise it's what should happen every Saturday afternoon.
    Mind you, I wondered whether the reticence of the authorities meant it has taken three years since the event for this movie to be released.
    Much of the documentary concentrates on the work of English ref Howard Webb, who received death threats after awarding a penalty against Poland.
    In fact, even the Polish Prime Minister said he wanted to kill him.
    Webb is a typical strait-laced ref. While he strives to do his best, the film does little to portray any sense of humour. Even when he is away from the immense pressure of the game, any emotion seems rather forced.
    On reflection, he is the perfect person to be the centre of a stormy match.
    His dad, meanwhile, seems a great chap, proudly following every game, either in the stadium or on the telly.
    Hinant's film has no narration and rather suffers for it.
    It is enlightening because it shows how the four match officials rely completely on each other. .
    They are all miked up so we hear key conversations. The words of players and managers are largely blotted out.
    But Hinant's film has no narration, so only football fans will really be able to tap into it.
    And I felt that was a shame. I've seen great films this year which have been so accessible I have been able to take a voyage of discovery into unchartered waters. It's a pity this has been made only for the conoisseurs.
    Thus, this, combined with fact that the footage is three years old, mean that it can't be worth more than 5/10.

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333. Les Arbitres (The Referees)


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