Film | Ginga (2005)

On the surface, Ginga is a documentary about the most popular game in the world – football. At heart, it is about the passion and love that exists in people for the game, a game that sees no cast, creed, or boundaries, and has the power to bring together a nation – even the world – as one.

Pele, Zico, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho; There is no denying the fact that some of the world’s greatest and most popular players have come from Brazil. Brazil gave the world a spectacle that had never been seen before when it hosted the World Cup in 2014. It is a country that sleeps, eats, breathes, and lives football and has football-fever running through every vein of its body. 

With so much enthusiasm and excitement, Ginga gives us a glimpse into what football really means to the people in Brazil. The documentary, directed by Marcelo Machado, Hank Levine, and Tocha Alves is a short but artistic look into the lives of seven young individuals from different strata of the Brazilian socio-economic scene, looking to find their rightful place in the game. It is their determination, the every day challenges they face in their lives and the impact it has on their game and their triumphs and failures that are truly inspirational, and also an inclination about how the game of football is just not a game, but a way of life.

Ginga: The Soul of Brazilian Football is as inspirational a documentary as it is artistic. On the one hand it taps into the idea that is Ginga – “a mysterious, indefinable magical quality of rhythm and movement which sets the Brazilian game apart from the others” – but simultaneously it also uses the artwork by Os Gêmeos, Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, to interconnect these stories adding a bit of local culture that too is inherent in the people of Brazil.

“Ginga, it’s on our blood, it’s a gift given by God especially to Brazilians who play football and learn to dance from an early age. I think Brazilians are given Ginga when they’re born and continue to improve it throughout childhood.”

-Ronaldo

Ginga is a documentary that is more than just about football. It takes the passion that a country has for the game and follows it through to how this so called “magical quality” of Ginga is such an essential aspect of a Brazilian childhood.

The one disheartening fact about the documentary is that it merely touches upon the lives of these seven individuals, giving us a glimpse into the devotion they have towards football, leaving us craving for some more insight into their personal and professional lives.

Ginga: The Soul of Brazilian Football is essential viewing if you are a fan of the sport, but also helps us better understand the psyche of the nation touching upon the cultural characteristics of the country which are so vibrant and unique. 

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