Finally, a cultural fest about soccer

Pitch festival brings love for the world’s most popular sport to Montreal by celebrating all things soccer.

The Art of Sport. 

The first edition of the Pitch festival brings the culture of the world’s most popular sport to Montreal, with film screenings, talks and art exhibits all dedicated to the love of soccer.

The fest presents documentaries tackling the game from all angles, many playing for the first time in Canada. Premiering locally, Ladies Turn (2012) profiles an all-female Senegalese team of the same name, while Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos tracks the short history of the North American Soccer League in the 1970s. The Casuals looks at the emergence of soccer hooligan fashion in 1980s England and Kevin Macdonald’s mega-doc Marley offers an in-depth look at the legendary reggae artist and diehard soccer fan.

Several of the festival’s screenings look at individual players, including Real Madrid legend Laurie Cunningham in First Among Equals. Brazil’s biggest stars are presented together in Pelé, Garrincha, dieux de Brasil, while Les Rebelles du foot profiles how five players — Caszely, Drogba, Mekloufi, Pasic and Socrates — deal with the politics in each of their native countries. Two films address the sport’s darker side: Football’s Suicide Secret looks at mental illness and soccer, while 11 Metri documents the suicide of Italian player and team captain Agostino Di Bartolomei.

In addition to film screenings, the festival presents a series of soccer-related art projects. Argentinian painter Ruben Ramonda captures the spirit of the sport with Coup de Bull, while local artists Alan Ganev and Stikki Peaches each created pop-art foosball tables. In The Art of Sport, designers John Paul Stallard and Rob Duncan frame soccer flags as art objects, and soccer photographer Jeremy Patterson’s work showcases both the game and its rabid fans.

The fest has also organized talks by local culture mag Urbania and TIFO soccer journal.

Overall, there’s enough there to sate even the fiercest football fiend till the next season kicks off. ■

Pitch festival happens Dec. 5–7 at Theatre Corona (2490 Notre-Dame W.), $15 for a day pass or two film screenings or $40 for a three-day festival pass

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