Sports movies have rarely had common grounds with auteur driven cinema, despite exceptions like Raging Bull or The Hustler or Offside, etc. Porumbiou’s dry, idiosyncratic and self-reflexive documentary Infinite Football – laced with existential, philosophical, personal and political ruminations – indisputably serves as an example of that rare overlap. The Romanian filmmaker’s childhood friend Laurențiu Ginghină was a promising football player in his youth; however, his playing days ended upon receiving a nasty leg injury during a bad tackle; and, it relapsed while working at a now defunct plant on one dreary New Year’s eve leading to the Revolutions of 1989. That propelled a life-long obsession for him – the desire to conceptualize a new variant of the beautiful game where the teams and the field are divided into parts in order to restrict agglomeration of players, and hence potentially avert injuries; and, in order to ensure that the play is smooth, the ball keeps moving and the offside rule is suitably addressed, he’s kept coming up with new versions ever since. Though his idea never really took off, and despite multiple potential gaps in it – as pointed out by a local football coach, and also Porumbiou himself, who’s present throughout with his chuckling and skeptical nature – Ginghină has never stopped believing. Meanwhile, his life continued to be a series of ironic “what could have been’s”, as the 09/11 prevented his plans of moving to the US and he ended up becoming a mid-level government functionary, helping local residents get back their seized lands. The film’s deceptive simplicity and matter-of-fact style, along with its wry tone, realism and nods to his country’s contemporary history, made it yet another quintessential Porumbiou work.
Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
Genre: Documentary/Sports Movie