Panaji, Nov 27 If Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, was the ‘black diamond’ of football, legendary Brazilian scribe Mario Rodrigues Filho was the one who honed him and presented him to the world, according to a renowned Brazilian filmmaker.
Oscar Maron Filho, whose film “Mario Filho: The Creator of Crowds” is being screened at the 42nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) as part of its special package of soccer films, said that even before a 16 year-old Pele debuted on the world football scene, it was Mario Filho’s inspiring writing about the game which drew crowds to the stadium.
“He made Pele famous. Even the famous stadium at Maracena, in Rio de Janeiro, is named after Mario Filho as ‘Estadio Journalista Mario Filho’ in his honour. He brought people to the game in Brazil at a time when not many people were coming to watch football in early 1900s,” said Oscar Filho, whose film on how the magic of journalists’ writing started pulling Brazilian crowds to football stadiums.
“Brazilian football is a mixture of the game, samba, capoeira (a famous Brazilian martial art). Mario Filhos’ writing captured the beauty of it,” Oscar told IANS.
He said that one of the biggest achievements of Mario Filho was to hold a journalistic mirror to the footballing greats, who in the pre-television era would never be able to ‘see themselves play’.
“This is what Mario Filho did. He told the footballing greats how exactly they played. He has documented the sublime Brazilian geniuses like Pele, Garrincha, to perfection. Something not many have been able to do,” said Oscar.
Oscar’s film is part of a football package at IFFI, which will also contain specially curated films like ‘ A Barefoot Dream’ (South Korea) directed by Kim Tae-gyun, ‘Foot of God’ (Italy) by Louis Sardiello, ‘Argentina Futbol Club’ (Argentina – USA) by Juan Pablo Rubio, ‘The Best Women in the World’ (Germany) by Britta Becker, ‘More Than Just a Game’ (South Africa) by Junaid Ahmed and ‘Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait’ (France) by Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parrenodsax.
The films are being screened in an open air environment amidst the ruins of Goa’s first built football area – the Dayanand Bandodkar Stadium.