Sunday Ball (DVD)
Eryk Rocha’s SUNDAY BALL focuses on a fourteen-team, annual soccer championship among favela teams in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Set in the Sampaio neighborhood (close to the Maracana Stadium, where the 2014 World Cup final was held), the film brings audiences up-close to a final match between two rival teams: Geracao (from the Matriz favela) and Juventude (from the Sampaio favela). By rejecting the talking-heads approach and the much-too-common tactical view of the game, Rocha enters into the world of soccer from a sensorial and yet, socially grounded perspective. Here, the players’ experiences take center stage, even informing a sound design that mixes noises from the match with music from Puccini, Wagner, Heitor Villa-Lobos, along with an original score composed by Jorge Amorim.
As such, SUNDAY BALL is the very antithesis of a straightforward sports documentary. As a great number of open fields previously used for soccer practice have been bought by real estate investors, it becomes clear that Mr. Rocha’s cinema is also an expression of an endangered Brazilian form of bonding and sociality, giving the film an extra layer of significance.
“[T]he best kind of cinematic journalism — more like a live-action painting than an ESPN special.”
– The Los Angeles Times
“[A]n impressionistic, visually stunning cinematic essay.”
– The Hollywood Reporter