Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Nefta Football Club: The Oscar nominated short film with a dose of humour and suspense

Posted on 7 February 2020 by Inam Yaphi

It only took Yves Piat 17 minutes to divulge a cultivating short film that touches both sports and film fans alike.

The Oscar nominated short film Netfa Football Club embarks on a riveting journey using humour and suspense to follow two brothers back to their village carrying two duffle bags of cocaine.

When two brothers, who are played exceptionally well by Eltayef Dhaoui (Mohamed) and Mohamed Ali (Abdallah) stumble on a lost donkey wearing headphones carrying narcotics – you expect the worst.

The drug dealers on the other side waiting, engage in a humorous yet eye-opening argument which dissects the methods drug dealers use to traffic drugs using donkeys.

We later find that the dealer played the donkey musician Cheik Hadel, instead of Adele which would’ve triggered the donkey to come back home.

Embed from Getty Images

The Arabic-speaking film does nothing but co-sign Parasite director Bong Joon Ho’s quote “Once you overcome the once inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films”.

The main protagonists are not childish but child-like as Mohamed convinces his younger brother Abdallah that what they are carrying is “laundry detergent” to keep him quiet.

This story derives from the French filmmaker’s childhood as he once also stumbled upon bags of white powder with friends. Instead of selling it they resulted in throwing it down the river.

The ending is both light-hearted and bemusing as the thought of the cocaine landing into the wrong hands is comforted by the fact that they end on a football pitch. Thus, creating the white lines to cease future bickering.

This nomination feels fitting as the last sports film to win an Oscar was the late Kobe Bryant’s Dear Basketball in 2017 which was also a short film.

Nefta Football Club has already racked up 22 awards from film festivals around the world and if it wins it will join elite company of sports film to have won Oscars such as Rocky by Sylvester Stallone, Raging Bull (1980) and Million Dollar Baby (2004) with Morgan Freeman. Watch the trailer below.