The Saturday Movie Club: Ginga – The Soul of Brazilian Football (2005)

by | Nov 10, 2018

It is a difficult time to feel terribly romantic about Brazilian football, considering recent political events there, not to mention public support for a far-right politician from some high profile players. It is a little passé these days, to eulogise Brazil regardless of this, too. As tropes go, it has been flogged to death by the media from every conceivable angle, and when the national team and 2014 World Cup hosts fell face-first into their own hubris against Germany in that tournament’s semi-final, there was not inconsiderable laughter from some quarters.

And yet, and yet. There is one more angle, and that’s Brazil’s self-image. It’s difficult to see how “ginga” – an African word used in Portuguese as “sway”, meaning the natural, powerful, rhythmic style that has always set Brazilian football apart. It doesn’t ask many difficult questions – and, having been made in 2005, it’s some years removed from recent upheavals – but it does offer a fascinating insight into the id of this style of play. It’s sub-titled in English.