January 01, 2020

News and Views

News and Views
Still from Lev Yashin. Kremlinfilms

A new Russian film about legendary Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin that was commissioned by President Vladimir Putin is now in cinemas, and it is getting mixed reviews.

The movie Lev Yashin, Goalkeeper of My Dreams,” stars rookie actor Alexander Fokin in the leading role. The film was originally supposed to be released during the 2018 World Cup, but it was delayed due to financing problems. The action spans the footballer’s adult life, from his debut on the field with Moscow’s Dinamo to his falling out of favor with Soviet authorities after the 1962 World Championships, when the Soviet national team lost spectacularly. Strangely, the film makes no mention of the highlight of Yashin’s career, namely becoming the first and only goalkeeper awarded the highly prestigious Ballon d’Or award in 1963.

State newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta praised the movie for capturing the atmosphere of the time and called the young Fokin a Russian Jake Gyllenhaal. But sports media were less enthused. Sports.ru said the film turned Yashin into a “soulless machine for deflecting kicks,” while comparing the plot to Yashin’s Wikipedia entry. Sportsdaily.ru called the film “yet another nonsense sports movie” done only because the authorities ordered filmmakers to honor a great sports figure.

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