Christian Arias (Enzo Vogrincic), the promise of Uruguayan soccer, is completely alone, aimlessly, harassed by the media and waiting for someone to guide him. The closest figure in his circle is his oppressive father (Rafael Spregelburd), who is also his manager and the puppeteer who handles the strings of his life on and off the court. The problem is that Christian is no longer interested in sports and the irruption of a girl, in her moment of greatest crisis, puts her interests in check and opens a question in her head: what if I lived a reality that I never wanted? 9 It exposes a complex universe such as professional football and the directors turn what could be a sports film into a drama about the search for happiness and fulfillment. Within the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, El Uncover spoke with Rafael Spregelburd about his character and his relationship with football.
– How did you get to this project?
It was a bit of a miracle. It happened in the middle of the pandemic, we filmed in September of last year, we had to request the corresponding permits from all the ministries of Uruguay and Argentina, and that really saved me because it was a moment of great depression. The theater was naturally finished, concluded, and the possibility of acting again in an environment like Uruguay, which at that time had no pandemic cases, was extraordinary. The directors knew me from other films and thought I was “the” person for the film.
– Your character is an oppressive father, despot, are you comfortable with those more villainous characterizations?
I’m used to villains (laughs), mean beings with a fairly significant degree of idiocy. I feel comfortable in that characterization. The most complicated thing about this character was that he had to be Uruguayan, and for that I had to speak Uruguayan. They “coached” me a lot since otherwise I would have expressed this character much more in the Italian way. The difficult thing was to find the exact point of ‘Uruguayanism’ to this so fearsome Oscar.
– Do you feel like you made it?
I have to see the movie now, so will you tell me (laughs)
– Are you a football fan? Did you have to prepare yourself with some kind of knowledge for the film?
My relationship with football is intense and very strange. I’m a guy who had never kicked a ball until 40 years old, the only time I played soccer in high school I broke my toe and it seemed like a very dangerous thing for human beings. But in 2010, some playwrights friends in Germany, who have a soccer team, invited me to form an Argentine team to go play a “friendly” game at the Book Fair. So, suddenly, I found myself managing playwrights and actors who knew about football, and who kindly invited me to stay in the team, at national risk for everyone.
– Can you know the names of that team?
Yes, Bernardo Cappa, Matías Feldman, Federico León, Santiago Gobernori, Mariano Tenconi Blanco, some book and newspaper publishers such as Lucas Funes Oliveira and Maxi Tomas. It was a very intense epic. We spent a year training with Alfredo Graciani, Boca player -who unfortunately passed away last year-, at Parque Sarmiento, and it was extraordinary.
– You had a football transformation.
Until that moment I had not had any connection with football and I discovered that it was something that I really liked. I am not a good spectator of matches, I like to play them with friends. One of the things that excited me the most about this movie was that there were football scenes. I’m very bad, I started playing only ten years ago. I’m lousy and I was worried that it wouldn’t show in the scenes. So my Uruguayan teammates made the plays for me so that more or less I could give a couple of shouts. I discovered in football a world very similar to that of creation in dramaturgy. The rules of the game of this sport have a degree of balance, complexity and fascinating nobility.
– What are you playing?
(Laughs) It’s a very good question. They started by putting me in the goal, because to anyone who doesn’t know how to play they explain the rules of the goal a bit, which are simpler. As an actor I protected a lot of my fingers, my face, it was a danger. Then I started to play. I was so unskillful with both feet that they put me at 3: 3 has to be left-handed and since I didn’t care … That’s where I scored my first goal, so I remember it very fondly. Later, they put me at 9, the fisherman: better stay close to the bow, try to grab it, if you don’t grab it, nothing happens, don’t send yourself any shit on the defense. But now, that I continue to play every Tuesday, I am 4, which is a very defensive position.