European cinema and the football film: ‘Play for the people who’ve accepted you’
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Crosson, Seán. (2021). European cinema and the football film: ‘Play for the people who’ve accepted you’. In Stephen R. Millar, Martin J. Power, Paul Widdop, Daniel Parnell, & James Carr (Eds.), Football and Popular Culture: Singing Out from the Stands. London: Routledge.
This chapter examines the place of association football in European cinema. Sport cinema has been among the most enduring, popular, and critically acclaimed of genres within American cinema; however, limited research has been undertaken as yet of the European experience. Though a less prominent feature of European cinema, the European sports film has had a long history dating back to the earliest Lumière brothers productions. This chapter provides some initial findings from a quantitative survey of European sport cinema, which identifies football as by far the most commonly featured sport. An overview of the historical development of the football film sub-genre is provided, with particular attention paid to the impact of a number of representative films in a variety of European contexts. As these films have responded to larger developments within specific European countries and the continent more broadly, it is argued that they have served as a barometer of changing cultural values and concerns since the early twentieth century.