Sacre bleu! It turns out that someone loves Sepp Blatter after all, as it has just transpired that the screening of Fifa flick United Passions at the recent Cannes Film Festival was down to one of the movie’s cast, that noted French actor Gerard Depardieu. The flick tells the story and history of the footballing body, in which Depardieu plays its founder, Jules Rimet, alongside Tim Roth as Blatter.
It’s hard to tell whether United Passions has received more criticism than the former/current Fifa President, but we’ll let you make your own minds up. Suffice to say, Escape to Victory it ain’t.
Cannes director Thierry Fremaux said that Depardieu was “very insistent” and that “he really wanted us to show it.” Fremaux, like most civilised people, was set to give the film a huge thumbs-down, but was eventually persuaded otherwise: “At the beginning I said ‘Out of the question’, because the film lacked the quality to be part of the official selection. Then they said ‘Why not on the beach?’. I said, ‘Ah, the beach. Yes, it’s a festival. It’s football. It’s the general public. Okay’.”
Blatter, along with Depardieu, attended the event on said beach and no doubt thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Mind you, as Fifa shelled out £17m of their of their own money to help make the film – which could go down as the biggest scandal of all – he didn’t really have much choice.
For most of the rest of the world, the ‘experience’ seems to have been thoroughly miserable. Even in France, it has gone straight to DVD and was a complete disaster at the US box office, with takings amounting to a mere $607 – ‘soccer’ still has a long way to go across the Atlantic. United Passions has also been branded by the New York Times as “one of the most unwatchable films in recent memory”.
It would be customary at this point to ask if you’ve seen the film and to leave us with your comments below. In the unlikely event that you have, feel free to do so; if not, you can always tell us what you think of Fifa!