Cert PG Stars 3

Football and philosophy collide in this poignant documentary as a quirky take on the beautiful game morphs into a sad portrait of desperate middle age and a glimpse behind the former Iron Curtain into the Kafka-esque running of the Romanian state apparatus.

Director Corneliu Porumboiu visits his hometown of Vaslui, Romania, to interview the guileless, earnest and evangelical Laurentiu Ginghina, who boldly claims to have invented a new less violent and more creative sport by changing the rules of football.

However a professional football coach shrugs and says the innovations are merely a variation on longstanding training techniques.

There’s an air of Billy Liar and Walter Mitty about the nondescript Ginghina, who explains at length how a series of thwarted opportunities has resulted in his being trapped in the grinding life of a government bureaucrat.

And the newfound freedom he declares players gain from his improvements involve the imposition of complex and restrictive rules, a contradiction our daydreaming would-be sporting pioneer seems oblivious to.