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Diamantes negros: the dark (and hidden) side of football


- Miguel Alcantud denounces the traffic of talented minors into the football industry, in his third feature film presented in the official section of the Spanish film festival in Malaga

Diamantes negros: the dark (and hidden) side of football

Starting with an interesting idea and based on facts, Diamantes negros [+see also:
film profile
, a Spanish Portuguese production with a €1.2 million budget (75% Spanish 25% Portuguese) shows in a tone sometimes close to documentary the brutal destiny of over 20,000 boys taken from their families in Central Africa with the dream of filling the ranks of Europe’s most prestigious football clubs. Too often though, the fantasy turns to nightmare. This is what happens to the two main characters in this film, Miguel Alcantud’s third feature film presented in the official section of the Spanish film festival in Malaga.

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Alcantud, a director and screenwriter who previously was as an aid worker in Mali, selected unprofessional actors from the country to bring his main characters to life. The story is an odyssey of deceptions, abuses and contradictions in which the boys are treated like the minerals the title refers to.

With secondary actors Carlos Bardem, Guillermo Toledo and Carlo D´Ursi playing the scouts who sell the talented minors on, the film picks up on the sordid underground of Europe’s most profitable sport, neither becoming too hyperbolic nor diminishing the cruelty of the mafia organizations taking part in the traffic. The tale resembles a journalistic report built from fiction. It follows the youngsters from their humble houses in Bamako, to their accidental journeys through Spain, Portugal and Northern Europe.

The project relied on support from Eurimages (€190,000), Ibermedia (€70,000) and ICAA (€405,000), without which this courageous and tough docu-drama, completely removed from any American, vacuous or commercial feeling, could not have been made.  

All this film has to do now is attract audiences of football supporters still who have no idea that behind the trophies and the high salaries of their idols, a trafficking in boys rink is hidden – a miserable commerce without scruples which tramples on the fragility and innocence of the less fortunate.  

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(Translated from Spanish)

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