As a fourth-tier soccer blog, it’s incumbent on us to find pockets of football culture and report it to you, our lovely readers. With a hat tip to Slate’s Browbeat blog, Paul Greengrass, the Oscar Bluth to Garrison Keillor’s George, is directing Barca, a documentary that will, per the Los Angeles Times , will look at the club’s history and legacy, in an attempt to decode Mes Que Un Club for those who aren’t Catalonian nationals.
Like most documentaries, it’ll probably include grainy footage of Barcelona legends intercut with talking heads from supporters, club officials, players and past managers, adding up to some grand statement about how the unified nature of Barcelona represents the greater good that mankind is capable of when they unify (chances that a Hollywood director like Greengrass will discuss the economic impact that Barcelona and Real have on financial institutions in Spain: 0).
It’s a shame for Greengrass, then, that the only film needed to explain the good in Barcelona has already been made, is four minutes long, and features no spoken words, only subtitles. Behold:
For all the brain-in-a-jar discussion of tactics now available, with chalkboards, pretty diagrams, and fundamental explanations that have been helpful in improving the general public’s opinion of the game, watching this mesmerizing video of Barcelona’s passing is like sticking your brain directly INTO the God Equation. As a youngin growing up in New Jersey, one of my favorite pieces of sports programming was ESPN’s NFL Matchup, which featured a pre-Monday Night Football Ron Jaworski breaking down film and explaining why certain plays worked while others didn’t, and how teams would try to match each other’s strengths. The four-minute film above, in addition to giving me a greater understanding of how prototypical passing triangles work in motion, took me back to being an 11 year old marveling at Jaworski’s ability to show how a fraction of a second of head motion from a quarterback led to an interception.
Fox Soccer producers, if you’re reading this, there’s a place for this kind of programming beyond just having Warren Barton break down running lanes, and how Chelsea got caught out in transition, again, and allowed an opposing midfielder to ghost in, or freeze-framing to show just how many men Stoke had in their own penalty area. Get to it, huh?