Life in Football
I have just heard about a new documentary from Argentina that is coming our way— “Fulboy”. It is the story of Tomas who is on the verge of achieving his dream career in football and he allows his older brother Martin Farina to take an inside look at his life as a professional football player. Martin, never able to fulfill his own dream of playing football, enters Tomas’s world and the world of his brother’s teammates by using a camera. The members of the team have different opinions about this and some see Martin as an intruder as he exposes their most vulnerable moments and their concerns for the future after the game has ended. The film is an uncensored, confessional look at how the athletes behind the most popular sport in the world behave during their time off the field. At the same time, it reflexively interrogates Farina’s aesthetic choices and point-of-view, as well as the viewer’s gaze at the male form.
What makes this such a fascinating film is that we rarely have the chance to see players when they are not on the field and here we can see into their private lives. Martin was allowed to enter where few are permitted to go. We see players who are reflective about their personal activities and notice how different this is from the way that they are perceived by society. In a key moment one of the players asks to speak to the camera and then has a monologue in which he tries to change the image that people have of football players. It seems that we forget that players are put up for public review in front of thousands of people everyday.
Then there is the fact that people age and understand that a profession is a necessity in the world today. When a player ends his professional life as a player, his career is over. We also forget the image they must portray and that includes buying the right clothes and always looking good. One player says that they are like men locked in hotel rooms. They exchange consumer goods for displacement of their own identities. We do not get this when they are alone together and spend most of their time in a state of undress. They are forced to constantly look at themselves at times like this in order to makes sure that they uphold the image that the public has of them. They are expected to exhibit macho-masculinity at all times.