When we recorded images in slow motion of soccer players during different matches for the film, we were fascinated by Leo Messi’s incredible achievements on the football field. For example, when another player delivered a ball to him he sprinted at such a speed that it was impossible to follow him and ensure that his image remained inside the film frame, something that didn’t happen with the rest of the players. He was far faster than the others. With Messi, we had to calculate very carefully the number of frames per second, i.e. the frame rate for shooting purposes and take the risk of guessing which way he would run.
Making this film has been far more complicated than one might think. It wasn’t possible for us to fix the interviews with the players within a time frame and under conditions that matched our production plans. The interviews were carried out in an unpredictable way, often after many delays and cancellations. The truth of the matter is that the players have very tight agendas and many commitments in a sport that moves millions of euros and is becoming increasingly demanding.
We had to search for and select countless archive images from all sorts of sources and different time periods. This colossal task, essential for the film, was carried out most patiently by Aleix Cabrera during two years, for which purpose he contacted different television channels, as well as Barça, Mediapro, UEFA, the Spanish Football Federation, film libraries, private collections, etc. About two thousand archive images were received and processed altogether. In some cases, especially in the case of video images from the 1970s and 1980s, the quality was terrible since the tape formats of those time periods were not suitable for their future conservation.
Fitting into a two-hour film 115 years of history of FC Barcelona, a club that has lived through countless events that have been followed passionately by public opinion, is a very tough and risky task. There will always be someone who’ll argue that such and such an event hasn’t been included in the film or explained properly. All right; point taken. But we had to choose the events, facts and leading characters which, in our opinion, would help to convey the Club’s heart and soul and the feelings of its supporters to the viewers in the best possible way.
This isn’t a film about a “hooligan” for “hooligans” from FC Barcelona. No way. It isn’t because had it been that it would have amounted to a simple documentary that merely praised the successes of the Club and its leading characters. BARÇA DREAMS has been made in such a way that it narrates not only victories but also defeats and failures which contributed towards forging the heart and soul of the Club and the competitive nature of those who succeeded in it.
As a director and scriptwriter, I never support the idea of revealing the facts in a film in a classical chronological linear way. That is what a film director with a historian’s mind would probably do. I prefer for the storyline or plot to flow one way or another, linking facts and testimonies, like any person would do whenever telling a story to somebody else, with spontaneity and naturalness. For instance, it is pretty obvious that when we discuss what Kubala meant for the Club, we’ll link him to Messi because the feelings of fulfillment and joy which both of them have conveyed to their respective fans are basically the same.
BARÇA DREAMS isn’t the outcome of what the producer Xavier Echeverría and myself had envisaged at the onset of the project. It is the result of what has been happening along the way, of what we have been able to accomplish in collaboration with everybody else involved in the project. We would have preferred to have had more players at our disposal, to have filmed more in the Camp Nou soccer stadium, and to have dug deeper into the entrails of the Club, but football is a business whose limitations and restrictions quite often create insurmountable obstacles. Not long ago it was still possible to see a movie camera following a player running along the touchline. Nowadays that is impossible because the exploitation of football audiovisual rights is a business that forbids it. Nevertheless, BARÇA DREAMS has found the way to enter the Club and touch its heart and soul by a thousand different means.
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