He Shoots! He Dies!

The World Cup final was an all-European affair, alleviating the quadrennial fear of last-minute South American disappointment and fury. (If televised sports are the modern-day opiate of the masses, and you’d best believe they are, championship defeats are akin to whole populations stopping their meds at the same time.) Colombia is as soccer-mad as any south-of-the-border country, but with the added wild card of oodles of cocaine-generated cash. The Two Escobars, by Jeff Zimbalist (the Brazil-set doc Favela Rising) and Michael Zimbalist, charts the intersecting sagas of drug kingpin Pablo and futból wunderkind Andrés, who accidentally put the ball in his own net during a 1994 World Cup match and paid for it with his life 10 days later. An unusually thoughtful and sociologically ambitious entry in ESPN’s “30 for 30” series of sports films, The Two Escobars explores how success on the pitch — even though it was abetted by dirty money — fueled Colombian self-confidence. Until, that is, Andrés’ mistake popped the national bubble on national TV. The Zimbalist brothers unearthed a wealth of fabulous archival footage and a chorus of intimate eyewitnesses; their breathlessly paced film is the perfect prescription for anyone suffering from post-Cup withdrawal.
Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 2010

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