“Pelada” and Beer: Inseparable
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed
(Editor's Note: You didn't think that we could go one article without mentioning beer, did you? We decided to split our interview into two parts and so here's the article from our conversions about what the "Pelada" filmmakers learned about soccer and beer... something we're very interested in. Read our synopsis of "Pelada" and the regular part of our interview with the filmmakers here.)
There's a scene in the stunning soccer movie "Pelada" where a group of seriously past-their-prime Brazilian men are resting after a brutally poor match they've just played in. The whole game the old men scream and yell at each other about poor touches and scuffed shots oblivious to the fact that they were probably making the exact same mistakes moments earlier.
But it's after the game and that no longer matters. The first and second halves are in the past and they're onto what is referred to as "the third half". Surround by dozens of empty, half-empty, and soon-to-be empty beers they revel in stories of their past greatness and of the beauty of soccer in general. This is the sport stripped to its core; what's left is the game's fans and, not surprisingly, beer.
For long-time fans, and probably new fans to soccer, it's hardly a shock as to how ingrained beer is in the sport's culture. It's one of the reasons for the foundation and growth of the Free Beer Movement. Soccer and beer; the two are inseparable.
"There are things that you can count on. We were always sharing beers after a game," says Gwendolyn Oxenham, one of the "Pelada" filmmakers.
The stars of "Pelada" readily acknowledged the fact that they easily could have made a whole movie about the tie-in between beer and soccer.
"Every game that's what you do at the end is that people just start drinking and eating a lot," Oxenham continues.
Whether post-match in Brazil or pubs in England or in the streets of Austria during Euro 2008 or the living room of Luke Boughen's old soccer teammate from Germany, beer creeps into "Pelada" almost as much as the game itself.
Ryan White, another member of the "Pelada" crew laments the fact that they missed out on many opportunities to further investigate the connections between beer and soccer.
"I think if we'd hadn't been making a movie we would've been drunker a lot more," he says. "We probably didn't drink as much as we should have."
The sense of community that both soccer and drinking create that makes them so intertwined argues Rebekah Fergusson, the fourth member of "Pelada".
"It's those communal activities where you end up, like that one field in Brazil, in a zillion chairs around these teeny-tiny tables with beers being poured. It's just pouring."
Then it's not surprising that when you combine the world's oldest drink and the world's most popular sport you create at an atmosphere that almost no one can refuse to pass up. Certainly the filmmakers, despite their work responsibilities, found plenty of time to devote to drink.
And in a movie that examines the global appeal of not just soccer, but soccer in its most pure , simple, and prettiest form as pick-up, it's reassuring to know that beer has its rightful place alongside.
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