Norway’s El Clásico unites football and love
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Norwegian-Kurdish director-producer Halkawt Mustafa’s drama sends two brothers on a motorbike trip from Iraq to Spain
When Norwegian-Kurdish director-producer Halkawt Mustafa’s second feature, El Clásico [+see also:
interview: Halkawt Mustafa
film profile], is released in Oslo on Thursday 14 April, courtesy of Norway’s Euforia Film, two of the guests at the opening – the film’s lead actors, brothers Wrya and Dana Ahmed – will see a cinema for the first time in their lives. They come from a little village with a population of 350 in Iraq, and they have never left the country (except for the filming).
The Mustafa and Anders Graham production, for Norway’s Hene Films and Turbin Film, will also screen in the Tribeca Film Festival’s international competition (on 15 April), and the producers have confirmed that Spain’s Real Madrid football team has said it will attend the Spanish launch of the movie later this spring.
From a screenplay by Mustafa and Anders Fagerholt, El Clásico starts in a little town in Kurdish Iraq: Alan wants to marry his girlfriend Gona, but her father Jalal is strongly against it. However, Jalal is a big Real Madrid fan and has made a pair of exclusive shoes that he dreams of giving to Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo.
Alan is convinced that if he can deliver them to Ronaldo in Spain, he will win Jalal’s daughter. So he steals them, and with his brother, Shirwan, he sets out for Spain on a motorbike, in the name of love and football. Their perilous journey through modern-day Iraq pits them against smugglers, terrorists and bureaucrats, pushing their brotherly love to the limit.
With the Ahmed brothers in the leads of a cast also including Kamaran Raoof and Rozhin Sharifi, El Clásico opened the Dubai International Film Festival in December 2015 and has been licensed to 13 countries in the Middle East by Swedish international sales agency Svensk Filmindustri.
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