Thursday, July 21, 2011
A Rainbow World Cup
This 84-minute documentary is not your archetypal match-by-match tournament review. It is not sugar-coated, nor a slick production. Yet, it is all the better for not being those things. Armed with a handheld camera, Ian Cesay turns director and producer to bring the viewer a side of South Africa's 2010 World Cup most will unlikely have been aware of.
I worked for the majority of last summer's competition, covering many matches and watching almost every game. But the experience was from the comfort of an office chair, observing through a television screen. It was enjoyable, but detached. Atmosphere-wise all I had to go on was the coverage of the two dominant English TV channels, vuvuzelas my soothing enemy. It was therefore with great intrigue that I sat down, this time in the comfort of my own home, to soak up another perspective a year on since the conclusion of Africa's first World Cup.
The rawness of the film is immediately prevalent, amid jerky cinematography and distorted sound. In truth, it took me a few minutes to acclimatise, for regular trips to the cinema have mollycoddled my expectations of film. Indeed, it is imperative to be conscious that A Rainbow World Cup has not had millions thrown behind it. It is one man's project, and its honesty of production should be accepted, not scrutinised.
A rhythmic tune acts as a scene-setter during the beginning, as pictures of South Africa's extensive wildlife, including wandering giraffes and wild boars, are juxtaposed with shots of the built-up cities and the odd KFC. Cesay offers a voiceover as an introduction to his baby, but thereafter a sequence of interviews with a melting pot of the world's population are pieced together to offer a first-hand opinion of the 2010 World Cup. At its core are the observations from the locals, for the majority of whom football is not the priority. Instead, the 2010 World Cup presents the African people with an opportunity. And one they intend to grab with both hands.
They see the extensive coverage and influx of tourists as a chance to right the misconceptions of Africa. There is a feeling that the continent has been tarnished with the brush of crime and danger. Sidney, from South Africa, who is one of the first to be interviewed, states: "This is a chance for the South African people. A new beginning." The tourists are honest enough, admitting that they had concerns ahead of travelling to the tournament. Now they have arrived, though, the visitors indicate they are surprised to feel at ease.
Cesay, however, seems wary of painting an unblemished image of his 37-day experience. Discussions with a handful of the interviewees reveal their concerns, in particular how the country will cope once the World Cup concludes. But, with these views in the minority, it is hard not to be whisked away with the energy of the piece, despite yours truly again observing from, an albeit larger, screen. Footage of congas in airports and vuvuzelas poking out of car sunroofs epitomise the determination of the natives to leave strangers with an experience to remember.
This was a refreshing insight into the 2010 World Cup, despite actual footballing footage being at a premium. The man hours Cesay has put into the project are evident, even if the sound quality does at times render some of the interviews difficult to decipher. But, for £5.99, there is value. Personally, I'd happily tuck into a second edition of the DVD, where Cesay revisits South Africa and speaks with those that he encountered to gauge just how they are coping in the aftermath of the competition.
A Rainbow World Cup: South Africa 2010 can be purchased at Amazon.co.uk or direct from the author