Oscar winner delves into deeper side of soccer

Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:39am EST
 
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By Paul Virgo

ROME (Reuters Life!) - Like most of his compatriots, Oscar-winning Italian director Gabriele Salvatores loves soccer.

He can often be seen at the San Siro stadium watching his beloved team Inter Milan while the football-match-in-the-desert scene is one of the most celebrated parts of his 1989 breakthrough movie Marrakech Express.

But Salvatores, who won the 1991 best foreign film Academy Award with Mediterraneo -- the story of a motley group of Italian soldiers stranded on a Greek island at the end of World War II -- believes soccer can be much more than just a game.

He sets out to prove it in his latest work, Petites Historias Das Criancas, a moving documentary about children involved in the football-centered aid projects run by Inter Milan in the developing world.

"I love the idea of soccer as a team sport where everyone works so that the person in the best position can score," Salvatores told Reuters at the film's Rome presentation.

"In my opinion this is a great lesson, one we adults should keep in mind in our everyday lives.

"It seemed beautiful to tell the stories of children growing up in difficult situations of war and poverty who go to soccer schools that teach you to work in a team."

During more than a year of shooting, the director spoke to youngsters in seven of the 18 countries where Inter Campus, the club's development program, operates -- Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Iran, China, Brazil and Colombia.   Continued...

 
<p>Italian director Gabriele Salvatores smiles during a news conference in Berlin February 8, 2003. REUTERS/Christian Charisius</p>