Thursday, 7 July 2016


A game I've never loved streams through On Football, ever present though rarely truly seen. Sergio Oksman's attention is on another subject, his father, in an extended gesture of loving curiosity that reveals as much about its maker as it does about said subject. A relationship they've never truly known emerges anew, uncovered for us in its filmmaker's quiet inquisitiveness, for this filmmaker in exchanges to which we are only permitted intermittent access. Poignancy abounds, particularly in retrospect, while profundity seems to remain at bay - On Football is very much life as it is lived, rather than as we might want to live it, and its banality amid these life-altering, even world-altering, events is a smart reflection of reality that nevertheless refuses this film the ability to attain the dramatic heft it seeks. Oksman makes his points, but is too hasty to make them as deeply felt as they ought to be. As he cuts from one scene of mundanity to the next, always with at least the notion of football somewhere in the setting, even if only lingering over it, his artistic impulses become quite clear. They're not especially different from those of many other filmmakers, and Oksman needs to cultivate something more substantial - perhaps a fuller emotional depth - to allow On Football to distinguish itself. A game I've never loved features prolifically, if not prominently, in a film I wish I could love. Ever at arm's length, this is an innately intriguing documentary, but one fuelled on intrigue alone.