Corneliu Porumboiu’s wicked sense of humour is always hidden under a heavy coat of earnest discussion. For The Second Game he has done away with sets, actors, scripts and any other production value. All his film features is the tape of a soccer game, which took place in Bucharest during the winter of 1988, and the voice of two commentators today.

The referee was Adrian Porumboiu, the director’s father. The game took place under terrible conditions but the enmity between Steaua (the army team) and Dinamo (identified with the secret service) made every encounter too intriguing to cancel. Twenty-five years later, Porumboiu managed to obtain a tape of it, to watch it again in the company of his father and listen to his comments. Viewers who don’t care about soccer might be put off by the idea of having to watch a full game. But the accompanying dialogue is the thing. At one moment Porumboiu compares the game with his own films, quoting critics who claim “they are too slow and nothing is happening”. Not if you know where to look.

Dan Fainaru
Screen International

With the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute


Please note that the festival is over 18s only