Infinite Football review – eccentric sports doc wears out its welcome

Corneliu Poromboiu's playful profile of his football-obsessed friend lacks a distinct hook to keep you fully invested

Releasing straight to VOD at the height of the coronavirus lockdown, Infinite Football’s title seems like it might promise a respite for people desperately missing the beautiful game. Yet, though it is in part about football, Corneliu Porumboiu’s documentary is ultimately concerned with altogether odder and, frankly, duller subject matter – the life and ideas of Porumboiu’s old friend Laurențiu Ginghină.

Ginghină suffered a bad leg break while playing football at 19, and ever since has spent his free time trying to devise a way to play the game in a safer – but equally spectacular – manner. A lot of the first third of the film is dedicated to Ginghină explaining his proposals to Porumboiu using whiteboards and magnets. It’s all very drab, with Ginghină monologuing for long periods of time. Even a deep interest in the minutiae of football might not be enough to hold your attention here.

Things pick up with a visit to Ginghină’s office, where a conversation about his attempts to emigrate to the USA is interrupted by a 92-year-old woman with a complaint about the land registry. The eccentric conversation that follows would feel right at home in any fictionalised satire and it’s a genuine shame when she makes an exit.

Ginghină is a perfectly likeable presence, but his obsessions are simply not very interesting. Porumboiu coaxes out some connections between Ginghină’s life story and Romania’s post-Soviet history, but ultimately leaves the audience to figure out the deeper, wider meaning behind this bizarrely specific documentary. At 70 minutes, Infinite Football doesn’t demand a great deal of your time, but it still wears out its welcome.

Infinite Football is now streaming on VOD platforms.

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