On the verge of achieving his dream career, Tomás allows his older brother Martin Farina an inside look at his life as a professional football player. Martin, never able to fulfill his own dream of playing football, steps into the world of Tomás and his teammates through the lens of his camera. However, the rest of the club has their own opinions, some viewing Martin as an intruder, as he exposes their most vulnerable moments, and their concerns for the future after the game has ended. Fulboy offers an uncensored, confessional look at how the athletes behind the most popular sport in the world behave during their time off the field. At the same time, Fulboy reflexively interrogates Farina’s aesthetic choices and point-of-view, as well as the viewer’s gaze at the male form.
This unusual film is a richly wrought portrait of the unseen world of professional football in Argentina. With unique access to a team across the course of a season, thanks to the filmmaker’s brother, we get a privileged all-round view of a life in football, from training ground to locker room. Co-edited by Festival favourite Marco Berger, this is a gentle homage to the team, with a fetishistic delight in the kit, the bodies and the preening masculinity of young footballers in their prime. The weekends spent far from home, the gruelling round of training and the hours of waiting in luxury hotels all add up to a tense atmosphere of restraint, very different to the energies expended on the pitch. Recommended for those who regret never having been picked for the team, who fantasise about being in the shower after the match, are just curious, or even just love football. (Brian Robinson, BFI.or.uk)
Film-maker Martín Farina’s brother played for an Argentine football club. Using this connection, Farina gained permission to make a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ documentary about the club; ‘Fulboy’ is the result.
Within the first few minutes of the film, Farina shows some of the players naked in the shower; that dissolves some tension for the viewer! It’s also one of the few times we see the players’ faces and (tatooed, shaven-legged) bodies in the same shot; for much of the film, Farina concentrates on extreme close-ups which mean it’s difficult to know whose body parts you’re looking at. Farina’s other film-making flaws include focusing on just one participant in a conversation (who is the other person talking?), starting filming in the middle of a conversation (what are they talking about?), filming just one participant in a telephone conversation (what is the other person saying?), and filming with far too much loud background noise. The second, third and fourth complaints, especially, make it difficult for the viewer to work out what is going on.
The most major flaw of the film, however, is that shared by all ‘fly-on-the-wall’ documentaries: people being filmed probably do not behave as they would do when they’re *not* being filmed. In the case of the footballers in ‘Fulboy’ that means additional testosterone-fuelled bravado – for instance, a player’s heartfelt homily about the sacrifices professional footballers make is quickly undermined when one of his teammates is filmed wiping his nose on $10 bills!
I saw this film at the 2015 London LGBT Film Festival organised by the British Film Institute, but it shouldn’t be pigeon-holed in such a way: apart, perhaps, from the shower scenes and a few bulge close-ups there’s very little homo-heavy content. Whether there’s enough actual substance to warrant the film gaining a wider distribution is another question. (Gary, IMDB)