Continuing on the political theme that we started last week with “Football & Fascism”, this week’s Video Of The Week continues on the same wavelength with another terrific BBC documentary, “The Game Of Their Lives”. This film, which is not to be confused with the atrocious American film of the same name about the 1950 World Cup finals, tells the story of the North Korean team of the 1966 World Cup finals, their brief love affair with the supporters of Middlesbrough Football Club and what happened to the team afterwards. Filmed on 2002 by Daniel Gordon, it goes beyond merely telling the story of their surprise elimination of Italy from the tournament from the point of view of the players and into the country of North Korea itself.
Gordon gets permission to film in Pyongyang, visiting players at home and reuniting the seven remaining players. Some of what they say is bizarre to the point of being creepy and the contempary footage of North Korea is highly revealing, making this a documentary – again, one that is not available to purchase on DVD – an absolute must-see for any budding football historians, especially those that also have a passing interest in that most peculiar and alien of countries. The film is eighty minutes long so, as a YouTube video, it’s divided into eight sections of ten minutes each. Our thanks, as ever, go to the patient soul that took the time to upload it so that we can all enjoy it.