WHITE LIGHT CINEMA PRESENTS

 

HELLMUTH COSTARD’S RARE 1970 SOCCER FILM
FOOTBALL AS NEVER BEFORE

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 5 – 8:00pm
At The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

 

 

For the rest of the world, “football” equals soccer and passions and obsessions run deep. It’s hard to imagine an American filmmaker focusing on a single player for an entire game or match, but that’s just what German filmmaker Hellmuth Costard did in 1970 – filmed Manchester United star George Best for an entire match (long before British artist Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno made their 2006 variant Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait).


FOOTBALL AS NEVER BEFORE (1970, 105 mins, 16mm on video, Germany) is legendary among soccer aficionados and one of the great works of post-WWII German cinema, but is little known here and rarely screened (no prints are available in the U.S.). White Light Cinema is pleased to provide an alternate sports-fix to baseball spring training.


Like the film, director Hellmuth Costard (1940-2000) is little known in the U.S. He was part of the vibrant New German Cinema movement of the 1960s and 70s - which included Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and others – that revitalized and revolutionized German film. Costard was more of an avant-gardist than the better-known names of the period, and his work is more often aligned with Alexander Kluge, Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet, and Klaus Wyborny. His work ranges from experimental films, allusive narratives, documentaries, children’s television and a child’s storybook, to magazine cartoons.

“The sun shone on Old Trafford on 12th September 1970 as Manchester United beat Coventry 2:0 in a league match. It was not an important victory; that season Man Utd would only be also-rans in the race for the championship. But a record was preserved of the match that is probably unique in the history of film and television. Using eight 16mm cameras, Hellmuth Costard, one of the most important experimental filmmakers in German cinema of the 60s and 70s, followed every move over the 90 minutes of the man in the red jersey with the number 11 - traditionally associated with the conventional outside left, but here worn by the mercurial George Best.” (Goethe Institut)

“The real Warholian moment of football cinema is Hellmuth Costard’s film Fußball wie noch nie (Football as Never Before, 1971). A point of reference for Zidane… (…), the film takes the famously charming George Best as its subject and edits multiple camera views to produce a real-time portrait of the player singled out during the course of an entire match. Lest we miss the homoerotic subtext of football art (and football culture), the half-time interval features a cruisey bit of filmmaking as we follow Best through a narrow hallway and into what looks like the boot room. Best turns and faces the camera for nearly three minutes. He holds our gaze as long as he can, pursing his lips, looking away and then back in a seemingly overt homage to the Warholian screen test. Best strikes a deal here with the camera, inviting us to look at him when he takes the field again; shots of his socks, his shoulders and his crotch seem to go on for ever.” (Jennifer Doyle, Frieze)

 

This program screens Friday, March 5, 2010 at 8:00pm at The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.).


Admission: $7.00-10.00 sliding scale