Infinite Football


Reviewed by: John-Anthony Disotto

Infinite Football
"Infinite Football is a film about outsiders and feeling on the fringe of society"

Laurentiu Ginghina stands next to the football pitch he grew up playing on in Vaslui, a city in eastern Romania. In 1986, he fractured his fibula preventing him from playing football again, not because of a bad tackle but because the “rules of football were wrong”. This a recurring theme throughout Corneliu Porumboiu’s alternative football documentary, as Laurentiu’s life falls back on the constant injustice he’s faced along the way.

Porumboiu’s film couldn’t be further from a football documentary if it tried. The majority of the action takes place in Laurentiu’s office, where he works for the local council filing documents while pondering the faults of football and how it robbed him of his future. He describes himself as a superhero living a double life, making analogies to Superman and his less exciting alter-ego Clark Kent.

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After watching Infinite Football, I'm still scratching my head as to what Laurentiu’s concept actually is. Just like Clark Kent, he’s totally misunderstood - feeling a lack of understanding in every aspect of his life. Essentially, Laurentiu wants to halve teams into sub-teams, draw a line down the middle of a pitch in order to prevent collision and create a less violent variation of the sport with greater harmony.

Porumboiu links the rulebook to a political utopia by critiquing the overbearing structure of Laurentiu’s idea with the harsh reality that nothing is truly without flaw. Every single aspect from the movement of the ball to the angles of the pitch are rigid, preventing the unknown that creates the spectacle of football. This is a stark contrast to Laurentiu’s life where so many external factors have impacted the route which have led to him ending up in the office he finds so mundane - instead he seeks control in his attempt to reconsider the rules of the game.

Infinite Football is a film about outsiders and feeling on the fringe of society, nobody understands Laurentiu but that won’t stop him from pursuing his ideology even if the bureaucracy around him has different ideas. Porumboiu captures the irony and humour of the situation without becoming a mockery of the subject’s life and for that, this film is refreshing - a comedy built around human stubbornness and perseverance with a serious undertone of the political history of Romania.

In the end, the film creates a discussion far bigger than its poster may convene. Yes, the film is about cutting the corners of a football pitch and restricting movement of players in order to speed up the ball but it is also so much more. Infinite Football is monotone in the same way that Laurentiu’s life has failed to launch in the way that he dreamed. From injuries to terrorist attacks, he constantly has excuses to explain his shortcomings in life - Is this football revolution finally his big break? I’m not so sure.

Reviewed on: 05 May 2020
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Documentary about ex-footballer Laurentiu Ginghina's opinions on the game.
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Director: Corneliu Porumboiu

Starring: Laurentiu Ginghina, Corneliu Porumboiu, Laurentiu Ginghina, Corneliu Porumboiu

Year: 2018

Runtime: 70 minutes

Country: Romania

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