A look at some of the countries and some corresponding movies that provide a glimpse inside their borders.
I love the World Cup. Even when the United States isn’t in the hunt (like this year), seeing a soccer titan like Argentina tie with tiny Iceland is as fun as it gets. But it’s not just the sport itself that’s cool. It’s the international variety we see on sport’s biggest stage: All of these countries are so different — in style, in attitude, in culture. It reminds us that, even as the world shrinks and grows a bit more homogenous, how beautifully different we still all are — and how much we can learn from one another.
But for those of us whose passports are woefully lacking in stamps, how can we and our families get to know each of these countries a little better? Why, through the movies, of course! Here’s a look at a few of the countries participating in this year’s World Cup and some corresponding movies that may provide a quick, potentially moving glimpse inside their borders. (Or, at least, provide you with a couple of hours of family fun.)
The host country was not expected to contend for anything this World Cup. But home-field advantage can do wonders, and in its first two matches the Russian squad is now 2-0, outscoring its opponents a convincing 8-1.
Finding great movies that showcase the sprawling country of Russia can be as daunting as the country itself. The old U.S.S.R. made what’s considered one of the classics of silent film in 1925 with Battleship Potemkin, and novels by Russia’s acclaimed novelists have been made and remade into many a fine film.
But my favorite “Russian” film may be David Lean’s sweeping 1965 epic Doctor Zhivago (PG-13) — a love story that straddles old Czarist Russia and the formative Soviet Union. It can be a difficult movie, but the cinematography and scenery is breathtaking. And if you don’t have air conditioning, watching Zhivago and Lara plow through snowy Siberia can be a cool, emotional respite from the summer’s heat. You can rent the film on YouTube, Amazon Prime and other sources for $2.99.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?