Friday, June 27, 2014

This weekend to watch in your free time: Football and its hooligans

Insulting, abusing, spitting, throwing stones, bricks and Molotov cocktails on the opposing supporters, abuse of smoke bombs and massive fights:  this is another side of Football.

How football, the most popular sport in the world, has turned from a unifying factor into a cause of discord? Watch those two films about football fans, which are showing the life of football hooligans from the inside and you will maybe understand the reason of their hatred.

Green Street

2005, UK,
Direction: Lexi Alexander
With: Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, Elijah Wood and Leo Gregory

The director Lexi Alexander was inspired by memories of her childhood, when she supported the Waldhof Mannheim football team. Co-authored with the former football hooligan Dougie Brimson, she wrote the script and directed the movie about the lifestyle of the supporters of West Ham United Football Club. This film is another attempt to portray the so-called "English disease", hooliganism, in the cinema. The plot is quite simple - journalism student Matt Buckner got dismissed from Harvard for a crime he did not commit. He moves to London to his married sister, where her husband introduces Matt to his younger brother Pete.  Becoming friends with Pete, Matt discovers the world of football fanaticism and learns about the mysteries and intrigues within the football firm”Green Street Elite”. Behind all the sport, alcohol and fights, a story of true friendship, support, loyalty and honor reveals. On the contrary, we see the result of baseless hate and senseless fights.

Why the movie is worth seeing? Firstly because of the script: it is exciting to watch the process of integration of a new member into the most ardent firm, “the Green Street Elite”, and trying to understand how the violence appears in the football environment. Secondly, it is unusual to observe the boyish “Hobbit” face of Elijah Wood in the role of a brutal football hooligan.

The Football Factory

2004, UK
Directed by Nick Love
Starring: Danny Dyer, Dudley Sutton, Frank Harper, Jamie Foreman, Neil Maskell, Roland Manookian, Tamer Hassan

The film is a cult classic for football fans. “The Football factory” is based on a book written by John King - the iconic British writer who writes about football club supporters. This story is not only about football fans, but also about the English middle class society of the 90’s. Through his description of the everyday life of the middle class, we can see the reason of hatred, racism and aggression in the football environment. The movie vividly shows hooligans daily life, how they spend their time in bars or at the stadium, how they manifest themselves after matches. The outstanding acting makes the audience fall in love with the actors, although at the same time the spectators do not justify the actions of the characters. The Events in the film show the confrontation of two soccer fan clubs, Headhunters (Chelsea support) and the Bushwhackers  (Millwall). With this the protagonist Danny Dyer became an idol and a role model for many “true” football hooligans all over the world. The Paradox: during the movie he keeps asking himself: “Is it worth it?”

The tagline of “The football factory” is 'what else you gonna do on a Saturday?' 

We know the answer: Get chips and a drink and watch one of our two movie-recommendations to get in the mood of the football world cup!

If both are not appealing you, here is a list of other remarkable films every football fan should have seen:

‘’Ultrà’’, 1991, directed by Ricky Tognazzi, Italy
‘’Flying Pigs’’, 2010, directed by Anna Kazejak-Dawid, Poland
‘’Gegengerade - 20359 St. Pauli’’, 2011, directed by Tarek Ehlail, Germany
‘’Kicking Off’’, 2013, directed by Anton Bormatov, Russia
‘’Cass’’, 2008, directed by Jon S. Baird, United Kingdom
‘’The Firm’’ (made-for-television drama film), 1989, directed by Alan Clarke, United Kingdom
‘’The Firm’’, 2009, directed by Nick Love, United Kingdom
‘’I.D.’’, 1995, directed by Philip Davis, United Kingdom
‘’Rise of the Footsoldier’’, 2007, directed by Julian Gilbey, United Kingdom
‘’Green Street Hooligans 2’’, 2009, directed by Jesse Johnson, USA
‘’Awaydays’’, 2009, directed by Pat Holden, United Kingdom
‘’Klatka”, 2003, directed by Sylwester Latkowski, Poland
‘’Mean Machine’’, 2001, directed by Barry Skolnick, United Kingdom & United States
‘’L'ultimo ultras’’, 2009, directed by Stefano Calvagna, Italy
‘’The Ice Cream Wars’’, 2012, directed by Paul Tanter, United Kingdom
‘’The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan’’, 2012, directed by Paul Tanter, United Kingdom

written by Iuliia Zadorozhnia
edited by 
Ida Meyenberg

Monday, June 23, 2014

How Sofia held Refugee Day: "Bus of Tolerance" and renovated refugee center

Over 51 million people are currently forced to leave their home due to persecution and the fear of death. This is the biggest number since the Second World War, as the representative of UNHCR in Bulgaria, Mr. Roland-François Weil stated in his speech on last Friday, the World Refugee Day.  We went to several events on that day, in honor of all the people fleeing from their home. At 11 o clock Mr. Roland-François Weil, together with the Mayor of Sofia Mrs. Mariya Fandakova introduced a Bus Nr. 280 to the public, which was painted by the artists Stoyan Stoynov and Atanas Skodov. The faces of refugee children shall represent the different nationalities and that nobody wants to be a refugee. The Bus is going to drive as a symbol of Tolerance through the city, reminding of the over 11.000 people seeking for protection and asylum in the last years in Bulgaria.

At the early noon, the Vrazhdebna refugee center for resettlement in Sofia opened the door for Media, officials and NGOs members. The event was initiated by the UNHCR office in Bulgaria by Bulgarian Red Cross. The visitors were expected to be guided to this newly renovated center where 60 people reside at the moment and enjoy the performances prepared by the refugee children. However, due to the respect of the situation currently happening in Varna the performances were canceled. Nonetheless, the head of the center colonel Ivan Penkov guided everyone around the center showing the improved conditions of living, press representatives played football with the small ones in front of the center thus making everyone smile.  Although it is hard, their lives do not stop. 

written by Indre Lechtimiakyte and Ida Meyenberg

Friday, June 20, 2014

For the free time reading this weekend: four nonstandard books about people deprived of their homeland

We all differ from each other, seem to each other alien. We are different - it is our curse and advantage. We are different - that's what we have in common.

People usually hate the things that they are afraid of. They are afraid of things they do not know or understand. Therefore, the only way to overcome fear and unacceptance is to start to learn more about people and the surrounding world, to broaden one’s attitude and mind.

The team of the IOA proposes you, to learn together. You will find something new here every Friday. Today we are proposing 4 different fiction books about refugees, or people, for some reasons forced to start re-building their lives in foreign countries.

1.   ‘Shadows in Paradise’ by Erich Maria Remarque

The book depicts a story of six people who have learned to survive: an optimistic businessman, a beautiful model, a talented surgeon, a writer who loves alcohol, an actress and the protagonist, a journalist Robert Ross, a German who hates Nazis. They survived: in America, Gestapo has no possibility to reach them. Learning how to survive and adapt sometimes makes one to forget what it means to live. They became just the pale shadows of themselves who didn’t forget to dream – to return home one day.

2.       ‘The Assassin from Apricot City’ by Witold Szabłowski’s

 Witold Szabłowski, Gazeta Wyborcza journalist, representative of the Polish School of Reportage, who lived for several years in Turkey, wrote a book (collection of reportages) about this country. The book was awarded with numerous titles, among which is an honorary mention at the Amnesty International competition for the best articles on human rights issues. This book is read in a single burst: on one page you enjoy the atmosphere of European shopping streets of Istanbul, and on the next page, you're trembling with terror "listening” the conversation about honor killings in the remote villages of eastern Turkey. Reading ‘Two Bodies Will Wash Ashore Today’ Chapter, the reader can feel the cold waters of the Aegean Sea, thirst and despair that illegal immigrants running from Turkey to Greece are experiencing.  For this Chapter (reportage) Szabłowski received the European Parliament Journalism Award.

3.       The Arrival’ by Shaun Tan

Have you ever read the graphic novel? If this is your first graphic novel you're in luck. Because Shaun Tan speaks by drawing better than other authors do with words. Shaun Tan is well known Australian illustrator, children's books author and speculative fiction cover artist. This book will show the reader a fascinating story of a man who left everything and went to search of a new home for his wife and daughter. In the future, there is no home, friends, and family support. But nevertheless optimistic story inspires, brings the spirit of empathy and hope. This graphic novel - the story of every migrant, every refugee, everyone who was forced to flee their homes

4.       ‘Escape From Camp 14’ by Blaine Harden

According to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations and human rights organizations, in 2013 Internment camps in North Korea held about 200,000 inmates. According to this information the conditions in these camps are extremely cruel and inhumane: an acute shortage of food, lack of medical care, inadequate housing and clothing, slave labor, torture and ill-treatment by prison guards, rapes and executions of prisoners. North Korea denied the accusations of human rights violations and the fact of the presence of labour camps in their territory. Shin Dong-hyuk was born 30 years ago in North Korea in a concentration camp number 14 and was the only prisoner, who was able to run away. Thanks to well-known journalist Blaine Harden, Sheen was able to tell what happened to him behind barbed wire and how he managed to escape to America. Documentary, which is based on this book, has received a worldwide recognition. 

written by Iuliia Zadorozhnia
edited by Indre Lechtimiakyte