Offside is a new documentary from film maker Miguel Gaudêncio. The documentary follows a group of women for the female Polish football team. During the documentary we see the grueling training that they must go through for the pre-season. Their coach puts them to the test, pushing them to their outer-most limits – making for a taxing, difficult, yet ultimately necessary and rewarding experience for these women.
Offside is not exactly something that would interest me usually. I have little to no interest in football myself – I know, a rare thing for a British man. I have never really gotten into it or even see much of the appeal of the sport myself. But then again, in my spare time I sit on my sofa and press a few buttons which makes little graphics on my TV move somehow, so who am I to judge. I do understand the passion that people can feel for it, and honestly, it’s great to see.
Here in Britain it is something that, seemingly, the whole country can get behind and feel united with. It is and always will be a huge thing and, particularly over the last few years, female football has become larger and more respected. Now it is almost as huge as male football, so I think that Offside has come out at the opportune time.
Something that I must add is that this documentary is in Polish. As such, viewers who do not speak Polish will need to turn on the CC for subtitles. This would be an essential point anyway, but considering that this is an entirely narration and on-location based documentary, I can’t express that point enough. This did have the extra issue for me that it wasn’t too nice to look at visually.
Documentaries are a whole different kettle of fish to movies and TV. There isn’t always the prep time required for TV and none of the flashy effects or top of the line equipment of Hollywood for them. It’s also quite distasteful at times to mess with what has been given. But it didn’t change the fact that this was likely filmed on the fly and felt like it.
Offside is shot in black and white. I honestly didn’t understand why. I found that it didn’t aid the film stylistically, in fact it did the opposite – throughout I was only thinking, why is this in black and white? It also made the on-location feel less authentic. It is unfortunate because I did find what these young women went through to be interesting.
On the whole it is a very inspiring film. It shows how far we can go to achieve what we want, or at least have a good shot at what we want. It shows how little status and prejudice means – not just in the feminist way, but for anybody out there. It also demonstrates well how sometimes we need a push in order to get there, and how much or how little we can take. It is grueling but can ultimately be rewarding.
I feel that this is an excellent message, and sports – especially one like football – are a fantastic way to express this kind of uplifting message. I do feel like, for me, the technical of the film got in the way – how it was shot and the unnecessary lack of colour hurt it for me. It wasn’t for me in the end, but I can see the audience and I know that this will be loved. I sincerely hope that it does go on to inspire many more along the way.
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