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Between the Cup and the Election

2008
Distributed by Third World Newsreel, 545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018; 212-947-9277
Produced by Lagunimage et Kabola Films
Directed by Monique Mbeka Phoba and Guy Kabeya Muya
DVD, color, 56 min.
Jr. High - Adult
African Studies, Sports


Reviewed by Jessica Schomberg, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 1/7/2011

In this uneven documentary, two Congolese film students track down former members of the Zaire Leopards, the first sub-Saharan African football (soccer) team to qualify for the World Cup, in 1974. When the focus is on the sport and the team’s relationship with the dictator Mobutu—especially after the Leopards’ disastrous performance at the World Cup—it provides a lively and compelling narrative showcasing Congolese culture, questions about what societal debt is owed to fading sports legends and the role of racism in international sports competitions. The film really suffers, however, when the directors try to relate it to the political elections that were occurring during the filming; it feels like a last-minute addition to make the film more marketable.

Narration is in French with white English subtitles; and the film features interviews and archival photographs.

Recommended for libraries collecting in the areas of Congolese or sports history.