Ginga: The Soul of Brazilian Football

(Hank Levine, Marcelo Machado and Tocha Alves, Brazil, 2005)


This dazzling documentary – presented by Fernando Meirelles, director of City of God (2002) – is a celebration of ginga – the Brazilian style of elegant, dexterous, playful movement that infuses all aspects of daily life, from dancing to sports.

The rapid-fire, non-stop montage mixes interviews, musical interludes, glimpses of domestic culture and, above all, beautifully shot fragments of football games.

If it sometimes seems like an extended television commercial, that may be because Nike put up the money for it.

Taking us from the heights of affluence to the chaos of the slums, filmmakers Hank Levine, Marcelo Machado and Tocha Alves avoid social-political issues, but race through a dizzy succession of (all-male) "case studies", each of which bursts with the drama of personal determination, courage, and infinite love for football.

© Adrian Martin July 2005

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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