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As the eyes of the globe turn to Brazil for the start of the World Cup 2014 tournament, Spike Lee and a bevy of talented filmmakers turned out short films that speak to the soccer-loving faithful, the experimental film audience, and the global cinematic community, as a whole.
Spike Lee has delivered a spin on The Game, a short film he shot on location in Brazil as part of an initiative sponsored by Pepsi. Lee’s short, which is available on iTunes, is part of the larger Pepsi Max’s Beats of the Beautiful Game visual album, which consists of 11 songs and companion short films from exciting directors. In addition to Spike Lee, short films for the project are being turned in from Idris Elba, Jessy Terrero, Diego Luna, Andy Morahan and The Kolton Brothers, according to THR. You can watch Lee’s short film, titled Pixote’s Game, above.
Truthfully? This might be the freshest, most cutting-edge and in-the-moment piece Spike Lee has made in years. The change of scenery instantly gives Lee’s short film a shot of adrenaline. His camera captures the heat and congestion of Brazil. The pure joy seen on the face of the young child as he receives a soccer ball is universal. Kelly Rowland’s dance track, The Game, is the right musical accompaniment for the visuals Spike Lee catches with his hand-held cameras. There’s an urgency and an energy to this short that has been missing in films like Oldboy and/or Red Hook Summer. The short film is vibrant, and is a great gateway into World Cup soccer for U.S. audiences who don’t get why it’s called football… and why it’s so very popular.
A little YouTube digging unearthed the other Beats short films, and they are equally incredible. Here’s Idris Elba’s short, titled Unstoppable:
I love how these shorts rely on music to tell their stories. They’re organic, creative and soulful, nailing the attitude of the beautiful game. It would be cool if Pepsi Max made sure these shorts ran during the games somehow.
THR says you can grab the complete album on iTunes now, with songs by Janelle Monae, Rita Ora, Don Omar, Timbaland, Santigold, R3hab and Jetta, alongside regional favorites Pearls Negras (Brazil), Jolin Tsai (Taiwan) and Hassan El Shafei (Egypt).