Football as a modern practice. Attempts to export to Eastern Europe in the early 20th century
October 11, 2012
Center for Urban History, Lviv
On the program of the film seminar was a screening of the film "Garpastum" (dir. Aleksei German, Jr., Russia, 2005).
This well-known Russian director's film is an epic historic canvas, the action of which takes place in St. Petersburg in the years of World War I and the two later revolution. The brothers Andrei and Nikolai become obsessed with a western trend: football (soccer). In their family this passion is already a tradition. Despite the fact that the failure of the Russian Olympic team brought their father to bankruptcy, the brothers dream of their own team and their own field. They try to earn the costs necessary for realizing this dream through their favorite task: football. However, when war and revolution rage in the country, the achievement of this goal becomes practically impossible.
Garpastum is a Latin word for ancient ball games. Of course, such a name for the film symbolizes the journey to the beginnings of the sport, which became a part of everyday life long ago. A century ago, for those in the Russian Empire, the English word "football" sounds just as strange as the word "Garpastum" does today. The film is about precisely that, about the popularization of something new, strange, modern and not quite fully understandable.
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