Football is a male sport, right? A majority of men watch it, at some point nearly everyone plays football in their life, as it is the most popular sport in the word. The players kick a ball on a field and their fans shout and often get into fights with other team supporters.
It’s a manly world. And because of that there are stereotype/specifications about how a real football player should act. He should be strong, fast with a ball, preferably good looking and also have a really hot wife, who during the matches sits in the VIP lounge cheering. So what if you are great with the whole first part, but miss on the last thing? Does it change things?
In the film Colours by British film-maker Peter Lee Scott, it changes a lot. Whether it’s just normal life or sports, it’s never too late to talk about issues that divide us. Especially if that issue is a deep prejudice about homosexuality hidden inside the most popular sport in United Kingdom.
On the top of a making a film about homosexuality in sports, the film also speaks about hidden racism. In the interview, the director mentioned he wanted to tell a story about his friend who gave up a promising football career due to the pressures he felt trying to uphold a straight image to the team around him. It is no coincidence that one of the main characters is played by a black actor. Colours matter. The colour of you dress, the colour of your skin, the colour of your sexuality.
This film wants to reach everyone who had this experience and never had a chance to talk about it. The United Kingdom is a big, diverse country and with their colonial history, people from all over the world move or have moved there to start a new, better life. Moreover, it is also one of the most open countries when it comes to the LGBT community in the whole world. In reality the problem is still there. Especially in sports. To be a different man in a group, where everyone has to be the same and be part of the team is hard. Especially if your ‘difference’ doesn’t change the way you play, or makes you a worse player. Unfortunately, it changes you in the eyes of the other players.
The main antagonist, Mike, truly has a punch-able face. His manners and quite chav image makes you believe he truly believes what he does is right. However, his demeanour and acting sometimes crosses into the bit too annoying category and can become stilted. On the contrary, the main protagonist does a good job portraying this difficult situation. Adam and his best friend Tom are a contrast to each other. He is a classically handsome, blonde footballer, in a contrast to the Tom’s dark mix of African/Arabic features. And unlike his best friend, he has all the right colours.
Overall, this is not a new story. In some way we can all predict the narrative easily as it ticks all the popular drama points. A young teenage boy deals with his sexuality, and has to suffer the consequences. However, while the story is not new, the setting certainly is. We need more stories like this and we need to talk about LGBT rights in sports. Especially in football, because despite having the attention of the whole world, all the money and fame, lots of players still have to hide who they really are.
Synopsis: In the aggressive and often hostile world of youth grass roots football, Adam (17) faces an ultimatum from the team captain (Mike) when they discover Adam’s best friend Tom is gay.
Peter Lee Scott (United Kingdom, 2015, 25 min)