I’ve already mentioned the current Edinburgh Filmhouse Illuminations season, I’d also like to give a heads up to two other interesting documentaries screening during the coming week, Football Under Cover and The Beetle.
For a non sports fan like myself, the thought of watching anything even remotely linked to teams of people running around after spherical objects or hitting them with sticks doesn’t exactly fill me with enthusiasm. Sitting down to watch new German/Iranian film Football Under Cover (Wednesday 17 December) was therefore something of a revelation.
Focusing on the plight of a German women’s football team as their left back, Marlene, tries to arrange a game against the Iranian women’s football team, the enthusiasm of those involved soon became palpable as their stories unfolded.
What really struck home was the passion that these women have for the game of football, one Iranian girl neglecting schoolwork to focus on playing the sport with hope that at some point in the future the game will get more recognition in her country.
Watching the young women fight against bureaucracy to achieve their goals (pun intended) was far more tense than I would have expected and it’s to the filmmakers’ credit that the tension never flags in this unique little picture.
Did you know that Adolf Hitler designed the Volkswagen Beetle? As I discovered in The Beetle (Thursday 18 December), it was at Hitler’s behest in 1933 that a “people’s car” was designed and built for the people of Germany.
The documentary being shown on Thursday at the Filmhouse revolves around one man and his car…and his wife…and his unborn child. Unlike the previous film this Israeli production may not see the national pride of its hero at stake, but it does focus heavily on his pride as a man.
As Yishai Orian waits for the birth of his first child he also comes under fire from his wife about his ownership of his Beetle, a car which she says is falling apart and is a health hazard. While she’s technically correct, Yishai decides that it’s far more than just a car: it’s a bit of history.
From here Yishai sets out on a bit of a pilgrimage to discover who the previous owners of his car were while also trying to decide whether his savings should be spent on refurbishing the vehicle or buying a pushchair.
Beetle is a sweet little film that never challenges the viewer, instead welcoming him or her into the world of a fanatic who means no harm and who is trying to come to terms with what it means to be a father.
While some scenes may seem slightly too much like coincidence, there’s no denying that Orian’s film has charm by the bucketload and deserves its place in the Illuminations line-up.
Previews by Jonathan Melville
Visit the Illuminations homepage for full details of the season.
View the Beetle trailer: