Winners and Losers



Extinkt Films

LOCARNO, Switzerland -- Anyone who has seen a soccer game in a bar or a big international stadium knows that some of best entertainment comes from watching the crowd. That's just what London-born Lech Kowalski does in "Winners and Losers," an engaging documentary about French and Italian fans watching the 2006 World Cup Final on screens large and small.

The closing film in the Piazza Grande at the Locarno International Film Festival will find audiences wherever there are people who like to watch what most of the world calls football. It probably helps to know what happened in that final match when Italy won on penalty kicks and French hero Zinedine Zidane was sent off for head-butting an Italian player, but most of the world does.

The director-editor placed fixed cameras in private homes, public spaces and packed stadiums to observe the curious activity of supporting a national football team. There is no narration, just the comments of the viewers. The result shows snobbery, humility, insecurity, bravado, casual racism and the bonding of fans in victory and defeat. Much like life, really.