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Starting in October 2009, ESPN began a sports documentary series on their network called 30 for 30, which was the idea of popular ESPN.com/Grantland sports columnist Bill Simmons. This series would invite feature filmmakers to tackle a sports story from the past 30 years of their choice that they had a personal interest in and the stories had to be something that wasn't fully explored yet, but still resonated at the time. While I feel all of the 30 for 30 films are worth watching, my favorite one out of the series had to be The Two Escobars directed by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist.
Drugs and Soccer in Colombia
Andrés Escobar was known as "The Gentleman of Football" and was a defender of the popular and talented Colombian National Football Team. During this time, as the Colombian National Soccer Team was coming into prominence during the 1990's, Pablo Escobarn (no relation to Andrés Escobar) was one of the most powerful drug lords in Columbia. Pablo Escobar was a fervent fan of soccer and was friends with many of the players on the Colombian National Soccer Team. Even though the political climate in Colombia was tumultuous, the Colombian National Soccer Team was thrust into the international spotlight during the 1990 World Cup, helping to unite their country cheer them on. However, when the 1994 World Cup came around, the expectations for the Colombian National Soccer Team were much higher . The documentary explores how both Escobar's lives were intertwined, and the series of unfortunate circumstances that led to both of their premature deaths.
Don't Have to be a Sports Fan
The great thing about The Two Escobars is that you don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy this movie because the filmmakers are giving an in-depth examination of two figures in Colombian history during the turbulent times for the country of Colombia during the 1990's. The sport of soccer serves mainly as a backdrop for this tragic story. This documentary, with its mix of politics, drugs, the criminal underground, and sports makes it easily one of the most gripping recent documentaries and managed to keep me on the edge of my seat with a story that bordered on fiction.
Daniel Ng is an intern at the Atherton and Brisbane Library. He was on the edge of his seat watching this film.