These Films At ADLFF Will Make You See Sport In A Whole New Light

24 September 2018

Clockwise from top left: The Art of the Game, Summation of Force VR, Diamantino, 17

Does sport keep you glued to the screen? At this year’s Adelaide Film Festival, we’re taking sport to the next level and bringing you some of the most fascinating documentaries, VR shorts and feature films in the world today. Get ready to see your favourite pastime in a whole new light.


What in the wide, wide world of sports comedy-fantasy-sci-fi-thrillers do we have here? One of the craziest and most imaginative films of the year, that’s what. Diamantino (played by hunky Tabu star Carloto Cotta) is a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque Portuguese soccer star. After spectacularly losing his mojo at the World Cup, Diamantino plunges into the kind of existential crisis only a clueless and overpaid sports star can have. The forlorn footballer’s search for meaning leads to a conspiracy involving his wicked twin sisters, mad scientists, shady secret agents and a sinister cabal aiming to force Portugal out of the EU. Curling free kicks into the top corner was so much easier than this! Awarded the top prize at Cannes Critics’ Week, Diamantino marks an auspicious, deliriously loopy feature debut for Portuguese-American duo Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt. Neatly tucked into the free-wheeling plot and eye-popping visuals is a lacerating satire of celebrity and political extremism.

Screens with Botanica.

Friday 12 October, 9:30pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.
Saturday 20 October, 12:15pm, Mercury Cinema. Tickets.


Humanitarian activist and filmmaker Widad Shafokoj (If You Meant to Kill Me) adds to her impressive resume with this marvellous film about the transformative power of sport. In 2016 Jordan hosted the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup. Shafokoj captures the passion and determination of the Jordanian team as they prepare to take their place in the first-ever FIFA tournament held in an Arab country. Coming from different backgrounds, each of the girls has faced a different set of challenges while pursuing their dreams in a game they once thought was only for men. But men have also made a positive difference here. Without her father’s defiance of friends, family, teachers and officials Leen’s amazing talent would likely never have been given the chance to shine. Now they come together to face their biggest challenge. Will Anoud be slected in the final squad? Is Leen ready to take her place with so little preparation time? Can their British coach (and ex-Brentford defender) Robbie Johnson inspire the team to victory? A hit in Jordanian cinemas, 17 is packed with positive girl-power messages, great humour and exciting footage of these spirited young women competing on the world stage. It’s a beautiful film about the beautiful game. Play on!

Saturday 13 October, 6:45pm, Mercury Cinema. Tickets.
Sunday 21 October, 12pm, Mercury Cinema. Tickets.

The Art of the Game

Photographers Trent Parke and Narelle Autio are partners in life and art and have a knack for creating uniquely Australian stories that bring alive the beauty and idiosyncrasy of ordinary life. After their son Jem asks them why it is his younger brother can bowl so fast, the family build a professional cricket pitch in their own backyard and spend two years filming this artwork investigating the physics, motion and beauty of the game, all to try and answer the simple question: Can sport really be considered art? As the work unravels, we see how cricket has played a role in the lives of both artists, as well as their two sons. In the wake of recent scandals around the sport, the artwork takes on new resonance, as the pressures of professional cricket mirror the artist’s own questions about the cost of becoming an elite sportsperson. What does cricket mean to us as a nation? What does it take – and what does it mean – to be truly great? Made in collaboration with filmmaker Matthew Bate, this unique hybrid documentary uncovers the story of one family making a very personal artwork that is the summation of their entire lives.

Screens as part of Art on Screen Trilogy.

Saturday 13 October, 7pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.
Sunday 21 October, 4:45pm, GU Film House Adelaide. Tickets.

Free Solo

Get ready for an intimate and unflinching portrait of free (without ropes) soloist climber, Alex Honnold, as he prepares for his lifelong dream of climbing the world’s most famous rock, the 1,000 metre El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of our time, Honnold’s climb demands the ultimate standard: perfection or death. It’s an edge-of-your seat thriller and an inspiring portrait of an athlete on a quest to live beyond fear. But there is also a love story here as the climber’s armour of invincibility and disregard of danger breaks apart when a new relationship threatens his focus. Directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, specialist mountaineering photographers for National Geographic, succeed in capturing deeply human moments as well as the death-defying climb with exquisite artistry and masterful, vertigo-inducing camerawork.

Friday 12 October, 7pm, Mercury Cinema. Tickets.
Wednesday 17 October, 6pm, Mercury Cinema. Tickets.

Summation of Force VR

In a moonlit backyard a mythical game of cricket is being played between two boys. Over the course of the game we contemplate the physics, motion, pitfalls and beauty of this idiosyncratic sport. Created by Trent Park and Narelle Autio in collaboration with Matthew Bate, The Summation of Force VR is a virtual reinterpretation of their moving image work, placing you inside it. Dark, surreal and exquisitely beautiful, this virtual reality artwork uses cricket as a metaphor for life itself.

12 – 20 October at the Jumpgate VR Lounge. Tickets.