You can't help but get a kick out of Pelada, a documentary about playing pick-up soccer games around the globe. But as I also discovered at the Saturday afternoon Newport Beach Film Festival screening, there's also a little Orange County twist at the end.
Let's just say someone involved in the production unexpectedly joins a leading regional institution. That's it, I'm not giving any more away.
Luke Boughen and Gwendolyn Oxenham were collegiate soccer players who discovered when their eligibility was up they were apparently not good enough to advance in the sport. Not yet ready to quit futbol and totally commit to new career endeavors, they decide to go the total opposite way and scour the Earth's four corners for scrappy matches to join.
A grant is secured to pay for the trip, and Rebekah Fergusson and Ryan White follow the players with cameras. All four are credited as the directors of Pelada, the word for “naked” in Portuguese and what pick-up soccer games are called in Brazil, the first destination.
Other parts of South America, Europe, Africa, Iran and China are also visited, with disturbing or mankind-affirming results, as the action takes place in slums, a prison yard and even scarier places than that.
The trip changed the Americans and their foreign hosts, and it probably will you, too. The documentary definitely scores.
Fortunately, there's another chance to see it at 5:30 tonight at Edwards Island Cinemas. Go here for ticket info.