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World Cup Special

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Mark Kermode | 10:07 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010

In the world of movies the World Cup in South Africa is a good thing, but perhaps not for the reasons you imagine... and if you are not football crazy, football mad, how else might you gratify that cinephile urge?

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  • Comment number 1.

    I am watching the world cup. However I could put three films that are anti world cup for you, Firstly Gregory's Girl as yes has football in it however it is more abouit teenage crushes and love. Second is Kes, as the only person involved in the game is the teacher who takes it really seriously and thirdly Football Factory or any film about football violence and how football can influence violence in certain circumstances.

  • Comment number 2.

    yesterday during the football, i watched citizen kane for the first time. this wasn't a conscious thing, i didn't realise "we" were playing but it seemed appropriate considering the fact that every footballer in england is horrifically overpaid. i dunno what other two films would be good so i'm gonna go with my default and say blue velvet and apocalypse now.

    what i find weird about football is that so few people are willing to sit down and watch a film when i suggest it, but are willing to watch countless 90 minute (or 105 minute with half time, or more with extra time and penalties) football matches despite the fact that they're all have these big long dips where nothing happens, and the same pea-green colour scheme.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well this is a very broad question. As someone who hates football myself I can recommend tons of movies, some even about football. A good film is a good film no matter what the subject matter is.

    However, if you want three excellent films that don't involve sport at all and therefore won't remind you that everyone has gone insane for one month then Moon, 2001 and Alien would be a save bet. Apart from a few small sequences, none of these are even set on Earth, so are about as far away from football as you can get.

    Plus the finale of Doctor Who is on this Saturday so watch that instead.

  • Comment number 4.

    I programmed this triple bill by finding films that run for 90-95 minutes (the same length as a football match for the uninformed).

    1. Marty - The story of an over-weight, socially awkward 34 year, unmarried living with his mother. Ernest Borgnine's award winning and hugely charming performance certainily rings a bell of recognition to those who don't have any interest in football.

    2. Wild Strawberries - An elderly doctor drives with his daughter-in-law to the 50th anniversary celebrations of his graduation. Along the way he ponders childhood memories, love, death, family, religion and existance. Gentle and beautiful, perhaps the most anti-football movie possible.

    3. The Anniversary - One of the darkest films of the 1960's, writer/producer Jimmy Sangster's script is packed full of grotesquely memorable quotes and ghastly believable characterization. From Sheila Hancock's spiteful daugter-in-law to the excellent Jimmy Cossins as the troubled, eldest son, the performances are all superb, with Bette Davis on absolute tip-top form as the beastly one-eyed matriarch.

    Three fantastic movies, with clear longevity, not one with an ounce of football. Far preferable to spending the time on three totally unmemorable games of football.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hey Mark and Fellow Commenters.

    I have selected Three Films that will make Mark forget about all the terrible and overhyped Football going on right now.

    1) - Rocky. A Boxing Film starring Silvester Stallone grunting and puffing through 2 Hrs. Its about a small time boxer who gets one shot at the big time and prepares himself for the fight that could change his life forever. I picked this because Rocky is a Sports film, and a Sports Film that is well written,well directed and remains a classic in the genre.

    2) - The Mighty Ducks. A Comedy about a lawyer who goes back to high school to teach a hockey team and lead them to success. It may not be perfect but it is certainly enjoyable, but it does contain all the themes of a sport movie. The Underdog Team Against The Ever Better and more Experienced Team, The Tomboy Girl who was better at the sport than most Girls and The Villan being the coach of The Opposing Team.

    3) - Cool Runnings. Just a terrific movie that should be seen by anyone who is a fan of sport movies. It makes me like Jamaca a lot more.

    OR Just watch Wimbledon on BBC Two.

  • Comment number 6.

    My films are a classic British trilogy

    1 If....
    2 O Lucky Man!
    3 Britannia Hospital

    Somehow I can't picture Mick Travis or for that matter Lyndsay Anderson having much interest in the world cup (although if it was rugby, that might be a different story)

    While I do occasionally watch a game, whenever I watch any of these films sport is the last thing on my mind. Now war on the other hand...

  • Comment number 7.

    This is a lot harder than it seems. If you're looking for films that have nothing to do with football, then that covers about 99% of films out there, so we need to narrow the perameters. I thought the easiest way to do it would be to think of films that would definately not appeal to your typical football fan. But even there the waters are muddied by intelligent cinephiles who still enjoy the sport. One of my closest freinds, a former student of Dr K's better half no less, is absolutley football mad.

    This is getting us nowhere, so instead I've thought of 3 groups of people who wouldn't care about this World Cup and picked a film for each of them:

    1. Women: An Eductaion. Far and away the best recent film with a strong and intelligent female lead, and it shows men to be the lying scoundrels we are.

    2. Kids: Toy Story 3. Any of the Toy Story flims would do, or indeed any Pixar film, but since this is coming out now it seems appropriate.

    3. The Irish: Ryan's Daughter. A classic, shows Ireland at it's most beautiful, it's just a shame they're not beating the French in it. In fact maybe Robin Hood would be better, with Russell Crowe's 'Irish' accent as be defeats those conniving French invaders.

  • Comment number 8.

    How about:

    1. Das Boot
    2. Wag the Dog
    3. My Sister's Keeper

    Not football related at all, honest.

  • Comment number 9.

    Funny that. I'm watching this on Thursday and I also have no idea who won or lost in the match!

    Clerks - While it does feature part of a hockey game, Clerks certainly feels like the anti-football for me. The reason being that back in school when the majority of my classmates were chatting away about football and the like, me and my friends would sit around having Clerk-esque conversations. Not that we were aware of this at the time but the over-analysis of the minutia of Star Wars was always far more interesting than the so-called beautiful game.

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - A man explores his memories and subconscious, studying them in detail. Not one reference to sport of any kind in there. Sounds like my kind of guy!

    Inland Empire - 3 hours of seemingly unrelated pieces held together by the monologue of a tough, strong woman. I had as much difficulty following Inland Empire as I do a game of football, the difference being that I didn't want to leave after 10 minutes. In fact, this is twice as long as a typical football match and didn't bore me nearly as much.

  • Comment number 10.

    Really tough. Was tempted to go with the "strong female lead" clue you put in the video; but being someone not all that interested in football myself, and male, I thought I'd give you a list that could appeal to adults of any age who don't really care to watch men running around in shorts fighting over a bit of leather. (Bah humbug!)

    1. Secretary
    2. Coffee and Cigarettes
    3. Boogie Nights

  • Comment number 11.

    How about a Cronenberg or Lynch Triple bill? Obviously, they do not make films for the populist mainstream audience and they transfix the viewer into totally different world away from football.


    1. The Fly (1986)

    2. Dead Ringers (1988)

    3. Crash (1996) (Show it in Westminster)


    1. Eraserhead (1977)

    2. Blue Velvet (1986)

    3. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

    Any of these films will take your mind away from the World Cup. Plus, these are some of the best work (in my opinion) from two directors who are never boring and will always set your mind going.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Mark

    How about an extremely varied trilogy of film:-

    Start with something funny and upbeat like 'Kinky Boots'. Follow that up with 'The Ninth Configuration'; a film that is still funny and ultimately upbeat but in such a different way. Then once your done questioning the nature/existence of God (plus the virtues of Shakespeare through the medium of dogs), begin to question the nature of humanity in 'Blade Runner - The Final Cut'. I think they are varied enough.

    Failing that go for three 70s classics: 'The Taking of Pelham 123'; The Seven-Ups; and The French Connection. What more can any film fan want.

    P.S. Does anyone have any idea if there are plans to release The Seven-Ups on region 2 DVD? It seems to be only available on R1 at the moment.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'd recomend watching 3 films that are about different sports instead.

    1) Invictus
    2) Field of Dreams
    3) Dodgeball

  • Comment number 14.

    Nice idea Dr.K (although I will be watching the world cup given that there is a lot of drama and plenty of characters in the beautiful game this year it really can't be missed).

    Here's my triple bill selection:

    1. - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - a very summery kind of horror movie with plenty of virile energy!

    2. - Taxi Driver (1976) - a wash of color, violence and cinematic beauty with Robert De Niro (when he was actually living up to his reputation).

    3. - Easy Rider (1969) - a way to commemorate the loss of Dennis Hopper, also a film full of ideas and what better way to spend the summer than on the road with Hopper, Nicholson and Fonda!

  • Comment number 15.

    Well since it's summertime and the sun is out I think I would recommend either going outside and getting some fresh air or, failing that, while everyone else is distracted settle down to three films full of loveliness that you might not allow yourself the time to re-watch in the normal flow of life and come out knowing for sure that you will have had a great time (something which in my experience football fans don't seem to get very often). Following this line I suggest:

    1. The Apartment
    2. Singing In The Rain
    3. Ponyo, Ponyo, Ponyo

    I could go on to mention any of the Toy Story movies, Mary Poppins, The Sting... you get the idea

    @Dave B - I seem to remember a scene in Moon in which table tennis is involved. If that's the case then I'm afraid on your strict no sports rule you'd either have to cut that scene or find another film.

  • Comment number 16.

    the 1st three johnny weismuller tarzan movies would get my vote or possibly a smattering of russ meyer to take the mind off the game.

  • Comment number 17.

    Sorry to jump in and use up more inches in the comments section, but Dave B's comment did get me wondering if there are films you could cut out all the graphic sports sequences from and leave it either more-or-less unaffected or as a different, but none-the-less interesting, film.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm off to see Please Give tonigh, on your recommendation and because I like the sound of a director that has been described as the female Woody Allen!
    My perfect Anti-World Cup Triple Bill would be:

    Stand By Me
    The Lives of Others

    I nice reminder of what it's like to be a child, then a bit of historical and political drama finished of by full on shark action with the best trio of characters ever committed to celluloid!

    Incidentally Visit Jaws

  • Comment number 19.

    I hate and despise football and all sports, it sucks my will to live. I would rather listen to any political debate any day over sit through a sporting event.

    The problem for me is, yes I am huge film and it is my job to be in the cinema during the day, which means in the evening time I am either at home watching more films or else I am down the pub. Yes, I am a Pub Fan. But the problem there for me is in order to have nice few beers with my mates or a quiet one while reading a book, I am stuck listening to the irritating drone of these sports commentators and I also get that awkward conversation when I go to the bar where some football-mad reveller will ask me "what I think of (insert footballers name) missing that goal" or "did I happen to catch who scored the last goal?" and I have to say "well I actually don't like football at all and I am doing my best not to listen to the television, in fact I would much rather be listening a greatest hits of Wham right now". And the quizzical looks begin..."what youy mean you don't like football, are you some kind of weirdo?".

    So, going on my football-loving friends taste in movies, I am going to list three films they would rather listen to Wham than watch, they are:

    Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain
    David Lynch's Eraserhead
    Fellini's Satyricon

    Blissful film entertainment in this, my most hated of sports seasons.

  • Comment number 20.

    I think Miracle Mile is right picking an Ingmar Bergman movie (surely a director about as far removed from football as possible!) but I would choose:

    1) Persona, an incredibly complex film about identity, psychoanalysis, femininity to name but a few themes which have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with football

    2) Chopper. A film about a psychopath who often ends up killing those around him (i.e a film specifically about an individual with no regard for friendship or camaraderie) from a country where nobody gives a damn about football

    3) The Patriot. Another film made by a country that couldn't care less about either football or England and even less about England's chances in a football tournament. Ok, yes it is a dreadful film but I think it would be absolutely perfect in slamming any patriotic spirit that we may be feeling with its ludicrous historical inaccuracies, ridiculous over sentimentality (including a hilarious slow motion death scene) a pantomime British villain in Jason Isaacs and of course a flag wielding, English bashing, ponytail wearing Mel Gibson. What more could you possibly want?

    But seeing as I actually love football I will not be watching any of these films instead I will sit through an hour and a half of Paraguay vs New Zealand for no reason other than its the WORLD CUP!!

  • Comment number 21.

    My friend recommends:
    Gruene Hochzeit (The Green Wedding)
    Singin' in the Rain


  • Comment number 22.

    1. Salute of the Jugger
    2. King Ralph
    3. Stop or my Mom will Shoot

    If you don't like football now.... you may afterwards! :)

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm trying to think of some "Chick Plus Flicks" - films for chicks and discerning blokes:
    1) Secretary: a tale of female empowerment with a dash of male empowerment and a sprinkling of S&M bondage. Ooh yes.
    2) Almost Famous: what's not to like? Ostensibly about the male-dominated world of rock 'n' roll, it also details the sacrifices women make to make it happen.
    3) Toy Story 3D: I'm hearing only good things about this, and it might even tempt me in to my first-ever 3D screening.

  • Comment number 24.

    It's blatantly obvious! A dollars trilogy marathon is perfect anti-football viewing. Trust me, after watching you'll feel like you're the man with no name himself, looking down on such trivialities as the world cup with a calm contempt.

    And if not, anything with zombies.

  • Comment number 25.

    Its gotta be these innit...

    1. The Conformist by Bernardo Bertolucci. A film that provides a visual spectacle to rival any football match without the need for funny hats and face paint.

    2. La Grande Illusion by Jean Renoir. A cure for rampant world cup nationalism.

    3. Sátántangó by Bela Tarr. For people who just want to sit alone in a darkened room for seven and a half hours out of earshot of a honking vuvuzela.

  • Comment number 26.

    too broad a question to start, i'd just like to dissuade anyone from ever watching Football Factory. It's a truely loathsome piece of work made to appeal to cretins.

  • Comment number 27.

    My choices of three:

    Winter Light: Bergman's deep, philosophical, subtitled film which is almost completely without movement.

    Changeling (2008): football and feminism rarely meet

    Silent Running: the most anti-football film; nerdy with its sci-fi and substitutes action with emotion. A grown man upset over a dead robot has probably never been mentioned in a Nuts mag

  • Comment number 28.

    the guy who said inland empire, i totally agree with. i probably understand it about as much as i understand football (around 40-50%), it's a lot longer but way more entertaining.

  • Comment number 29.

    Actually I would like to retract my inclusion of Changeling as many male football fans might enjoy it for "phwoar, Angelina, phwoar"!!

  • Comment number 30.

    I can't think of anything likely to be scarier to football fans than post-menopausal women. My bill:

    1. Whatever happened to Baby Jane?
    2. Sunset Boulevard.
    3. Peyton Place.

  • Comment number 31.

    1. Kiki's Delivery Service - A bit of whimsy to counter the seriousness that some people attach to "football."

    2. La Strada - A world too intimate to be bothered by the World Cup

    3. Sleeper - Because Woody Allen is the antithesis of athletic competition.

  • Comment number 32.

    Extremely broad this Dr. K, but here goes. This list is my idea to try and cover tastes of the film fan who isn't interested in the world cup, but doesn't have specific stereotypical likes and dislikes (i.e. it's a broad list!):

    1. The Graduate - Watching this classic will take you far away from the world of football, whilst still not being a "chick-flick".

    2. Hairspray (the original!) - Race riots, Divine and a tubby girl winning the day - football be damned!

    3. Bend It Like Beckham - Yes it has football, but it's incidental, a tool, as the story is built around strong female leads and covers friendship, relationships and culture. Plus it's nice to end on a bit of a feel-good number :-)

    Many many many more could have been included, though I'll leave that to everyone else!

  • Comment number 33.

    Okay, It's only fair that someone represents football fans here, So I'm going to stick my neck on the line and say:
    (although sitting through england v algeria made me wish i'd never taken an interest in the game)
    So to deviate from the homework topic, I've compiled a triple bill of films that contain scenes of football being played but can be enjoyed by anyone with even the strongest hatred of the game:

    1) Kes
    2) City Of God
    3) A Room For Romeo Brass

    But don't get me wrong, I don't think everything football related is brilliant, I still think Vinnie Jones is a terrible actor.

  • Comment number 34.

    Lucian Pintilie's Reconstruction is an interesting one for this. The reason they are making the reconstruction footage on the day they are is because they need a quiet empty town to do so and there is a football match on meaning the town is empty because everyone is off watching the game. At one point in the film you can hear cheering in the soundscape, and it is only in the closing five minutes or so that a horde of football fans suddenly turn up repopulating the town as they head to the pub, essentially meaning you spend the entire film avoiding the football game and just as we have to come face to face with football fans upon leaving the cinema at the movie's end so too do the main characters at the movie's end.

    I can't come up with another two examples that are quite so appropriate so instead I will just suggest my two favourite films, Chungking Express and The Red Shoes. Last I checked romance and ballet don't have too much to do with football.

  • Comment number 35.

    There are loads of films with nothing to do with football. As I am a man with no interest in football in general, I figure I could put anything I've ever watched on this list.

    1. Memento
    2. The Outlaw Josey Wales
    3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

    First weird film that came to mind was Memento.
    Traditional manly film; Clint Eastwood, Western, guns, shooting is The Outlaw Josey Wales.
    My favourite comedy film of all time, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  • Comment number 36.

    The English have a strange desire to see football as 'their game', as I suppose every country would. It's very patriotic. So how about a post-apocalyptic England, where football is on nobody's mind? I'm of course talking about the surreal comedy 'The Bed Sitting Room', a very funny antidote to the football madness, where I get to see my fellow countrymen arsing about in a comic dystopia, rather than kicking a ball around a field for an apparently captivating 90 minutes.
    And while being distinctly British, I don't think Mike Leigh films contain much mention of football. I'll go for 'Naked' and watch one of the darkest, most intelligent films in our cinema history, hung together by David Thewlis' magnificent performance.
    My third would be something like 2001: A Space Odyssey - to take me far away from this Earth.

  • Comment number 37.

    well Kes and Gregory's girl were great suggestions.

    How about

    1. The Italian Job (original)

    2. Bend it like Beckham

    3. Looking for Eric

  • Comment number 38.

    If I was hosting a triple bill of films for people who didn't like football then I'd follow my 3 point formula:
    - Start with one for the Eyes
    - In the middle have one for the Brain
    - Finish with one for fun

    So the three I would go for are:
    - Tideland
    - Short Cuts
    - Peggy Sue Got Married

    or if it were guys who were not massive football fans

    - Altered States
    - Vanishing Point
    - Total Recall

  • Comment number 39.

    Nice choices @Alina - they will definitely keep the football fans away!

    @DennisMoore I love Kiki's Delivery Service and Sleeper is one of Woody's best.

    Wouldn't it be nice to have an edit feature on this blog...I know I'm not the only one who makes mistakes and doesn't realise until after they have posted!! Come on BBC, I'm sure it could be done.

  • Comment number 40.

    I am going to whisk you away to a place far, far from fair Blighty. Two Japanese films and a Korean one make up my triple-decker anti-football sandwich.

    1) "Ping-Pong", taking on a sport which few of us know or care about and making it truly spectacular. Containing a boy called Smile who doesn't and a fantastic use of bullet time.

    2) Yôjirô Takita's "Departures" the spellbinding story of a cellist who finds his true calling preparing the dead for cremation.

    3) The heartwarming 'I'm a Cyborg (But That's Ok)' from Chan-wook Park. After her beloved grandma dies, Young-Goon convinces herself she is a cyborg and gets sent to a mental hospital, where she learns forgiveness, compassion and how to be human.

    Not English, not football and tracing the paths of thoroughly introverted outsiders, you've got to love em.

  • Comment number 41.

    I agree with the sugestion of films that are about different sports but also about films that wouldn't normaly appeal to football fans. So i've tryed to keep those ideas in mind. But ulimatley have just thought of films that have nothing to do with the gastly sport.

    1) Million Dollor Baby- i saw this for the first time a few days ago and was thoughly entertained and amazed by the film. I knew nothing about the plot or that it was about boxing and me not being a fan of boxing felt that i might be out of the loop maybe. But found the boxing parts of the first half of the film actualy very interesting and then the way that clint eastwood changes th whole tone of the film into a strong drama was masterful as always with his films, the performances was brilliant too.

    2) There Will be Blood- oil, milkshake, another meglomaniac, moustace sporting character performance from daniel day lewis since gangs of new york.

    3) Definatly something controversial, like clockwork orange or bronson or irreversible. Controvercey is something that not alot of football holligans would go see in a movie or possibly even understand. Thus the best idea to release something like killer inside me close to the world cup.

  • Comment number 42.


    Ah, it looks like some one already had Bend it Like Beckham so I better substitute that one with "Joyeux Noel"

  • Comment number 43.

    Something to induce a space to think amid the frenzy -

    1) Still Walking
    2) Werckmeister Harmonies
    3) Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring

  • Comment number 44.

    I know it's not really within the remit, but Das Wunder von Berne (apologies for bad spelling) or The Miracle of Berne must be mentioned. It is a film which features football strongly, but is not really ABOUT football - it's about dignity. Either way it is a wonderful piece of work and everybody should see it.

  • Comment number 45.

    Then for any kiddie footie-phobes there's Bedknobs and Broomsticks (I think you know the bit I am referring to)

  • Comment number 46.

    @ MargeGunderson - what are your choices babe?

    @ spektijim - wow, thanks for those recommendations, always on the look out for interesting Asian cinema, Asians (sorry for use of generic term) are making some of the most imaginative and compelling movies today.

    @ universe in general - Tideland is now number 1 on my must see list.

  • Comment number 47.

    Here's a trio from before the World Cup was even invented:

    1. Battleship Potemkin
    2. Metropolis
    3. The Kid

  • Comment number 48.

    You want three films that are relatively quiet and relaxed in some way. While thousands of drunken fools take the sight of people kicking a ball around way too seriously, you can escape into three cinematic worlds that lack all that unnecessary angst:

    1. Mystery Train: Start off light with Jim Jarmusch's off-beat and quirky (but not irksome) meditation on the mythos of Memphis in a post-Elvis world.

    2. The Third Man: Get a little more involving with Carol Reed's classic in which the games amongst nationalities were far more sinister and far more enjoyable.

    3. Days of Heaven: Finally, wind down by basking in the glory of turn-of-the-century Texas in Terrence Malick's haunting and visually arresting masterpiece. Plus, it's got Richard Gere in it. And he's pretty good.

    I think I just might have to try out this triple feature now.

  • Comment number 49.

    Porridge: The Movie (1979)

  • Comment number 50.

    Since the world cup is all about having a good time and showing a little something for everyone i would to recommend something that is just plainly a fun night. You can start the night with the smallest. After that older kid can stay and than it is just you and the misses. All of them are somewhat sport related (though not fotball)

    start the night of with Les triplettes de Belleville (something that even the youngest can watch)

    then continue with the wonderful 70's comedy Slap Shot ( the older kids will probably find this hilarious, i know i did)

    then end with Marathon Man

    i think is a triple bill that substitutes the fun the world cup is supposed to give and it is fun for the entire family.

  • Comment number 51.

    Hmmmm, as a 100% loyal football despiser like myself it's a pleasure to see I'm not the only guy hating the stinkin' world cup. This list was actually quite a challenge as yeah it's pretty broad, and i've no idea where the hell my list is going to go... so we'll see. :)
    I love to sit down and escape the pointless world of footy with these:

    *Pink Flamingos [John Waters]- I wouldn't DARE show this to some of my football-lovin' friends, in fear that they'd remove me from their life! The infamous gigantic botty orifice miming to Surfin' Bird made me feel most peculiar indeed the first time I witnesed it! what a fantastic trashy movie! :O

    *Jimmy The Boy Wonder [Herschell Gordon Lewis]- A children's film that is so ridiculously sinister and demented, football fans would probably scream in horror at just the film title alone. It features a little simpleton chap (with no acting skills) by the name of jimmy who can stop time just by asking it to. As the film progresses it goes all out into a full-blown acid trip of an adventure featuring raining jellybeans, 'slow-motion land' and an evil dude called Mr Fig who does a little jig and tries to 'kill time' (whatever the hell that means)... AND a completely out of sync animation that's just spliced in there for no reason, featuring a talking donkey (i think)!! :) Brilliant film!

    *Allegro Non Troppo [Bruno Bozzetto]- Beautiful film, with some of the most surreal and imaginative animation i've ever seen. And features one of the saddest short animations I have ever seen too; featuring a little kitten at a wasteland fantasising of a happy life amongst people in a warm cosy house! Very moving!!
    I was once talking to some football lovin' dude at work about animated films, as he claimed to be a huge lover of art. But he shot me down claiming I was a little baby that watches cartoons and that I should man up and watch a REAL film like football factory or 'rocknrolla'... !! cheers mate, i'll take that on board! :/

    'OllieSim's list is a winner! 'Crash', 'Fire Walk With Me' AND 'Blue Velvet' .. Yes please! :D

  • Comment number 52.

    Well the only one that comes in mind is "Ken Park" where they have that scene around the table where they talk about sports.
    But you know I remember when I was in school (in Croatia) aged about 12-13 I was the only male kid in class who did not have any interest in sports but in films and I remember what relief I felt when I read in Quentin Tarantino's biography "Shooting from the Hip" how he also despised sports that he even threw away season tickets for the Lakers.
    I felt a relief because for the first time I found out there are guys like me that don't like sports but movies instead and that I was normal after all.

  • Comment number 53.

    My Neighbour Totoro - Another delightful film from Hayao Miyazaki which causes me to smile from start to finish.

    Hard Candy - A great two hander staring Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson that will have most of its male viewers squirming, I know I squirmed even though I knew how the procedure ended before watching.

    Offside - A football film that features almost no football as a group of young women in Iran try to get into a match but can't due to that country's laws forbidding them from watching men's sports, surprisingly given the subject it is very funny.

  • Comment number 54.

    1) Jerry Maguire
    2) When we were kings
    3) Hoop Dreams

  • Comment number 55.

    Or just go with a Seinfeld marathon

  • Comment number 56.

    One thing about having a partner or friends who like football is that after the match, depending on the result, they will be filled with a rush of emotion: Joy if they win or despair if they loose. While non-football fans will be unmoved either way. So in an attempt to match their emotional state; watching a movie that invokes similar spirits would help bring both parties together in an emotional embrace.

    For happiness: Its a Wonderfull life, Toy Story 2 or Bigfoot and the Hendersons.

    For sadness: Precious, Johnny Mad Dog or Transformers 2.

    Of course the fatal flaw in all that is that you could not predict the outcome of a match so may end up happy when they are said, or vice versa.

    If thats the least someone feels in the mood to cheer the other up!

  • Comment number 57.

    @Alina See entry number 18 :D

  • Comment number 58.

    On the basis that there's got to be something pretty seriously wrong with someone who could not appreciate the drama of yesterday's games or the last 15 minutes of today's match between Italy and Slovakia, I'm going with:

    1. Saw 6
    2. Sex and the City 2
    3. Pirates of the Caribbean 3

  • Comment number 59.

    I'm 21 years old and male but I hate football, therefore (according to counter programming) I must really want to watch sex and the city 2 right?...... shudder!

    Anyway what about:

    Laputa: Castle in the Sky
    Ferris Beuler's Day Off

    Nothing to do with football and a wonderful set of warm summer films to escape into and forget that anyone ever had the idea of kicking a ball into a net. In fact forget the football, save the films for the evening and get outside. This summer is gorgeous! Enjoy it!

  • Comment number 60.

    Three to have a LOT of fun with for 90 minutes apiece.

    1 - Bride of Chucky

    2 - Female Trouble

    3 - City of the Living Dead

    Or three to massage the mind a little more for just as much time.

    1 - Aguirre, The Wrath of God

    2 - The Fly

    3 - Irreversible

    But nevermind the world cup, watch those 6 regardless.

  • Comment number 61.

    OR the hold-your-breath-be-exhausted trilogy of

    1 - Switchblade Romance

    2 - Wolf Creek

    3 - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

    Or maybe all 6 dead films would be good of an evening, even though it peaks at Day.

  • Comment number 62.

    What three things to jingoistic England fans hate above all else? The French and the Germans. What is the one thing everyone thinks of when they think of the World Cup? Brilliant Brazilians. I therefore recommend:

    1)'Amelie' (A film about a lovely French person who is impossible to dislike).

    2)'The Pianist' (Not only does this film have a German in it, but it has a NAZI in it ... and he's a good guy. If isn't the antithesis of World Cup thinking I don't know what is).

    3)'City of God' (These Brazilians aren't brilliant. They're downright brutal. There certainly isn't an samba football in this one).

    By the way, just because you love football doesn't mean you can't love films. They're my two biggest passions in life. The hooligans are a bit different though. The weapon of choice for a football hooligan is a broken bottle; the weapon of choice for a film hooligan is...

    ...Transformers 2.

    I think I'd prefer the bottle.

  • Comment number 63.

    I too, couldn't give a flying monkey about the World Cup. Unfortunately my work colleagues do not share my disdain. My triple bill may well be coloured by my cynicism.

    1) Fight Club - seems an obvious choice to me, a film that rejects all the posturing, machismo and arrogance that seems to typify football.

    2) INLAND EMPIRE - David Lynch's masterpiece, which is far more satisfying than watching 22 men kick an inflated pig skin around a field, although as already pointed out, just as mystifying.

    3) Weird Science - for the comic relief, and because it's about a pair of nerds who are made to suffer by various incarnations of arrogant, macho jocks, who could easily have grown up to become footballers, had two of them not gone on to be the world famous Robert Downey Jr and Bill "Widest Smile in the Universe" Paxton.

  • Comment number 64.

    Well I am following the World Cup - but I'm all for some anti-football audience films. Also surely if people hate football then they would generally despise other sports films??

    1) Let the Right One in - Mainly because its an amazing, chilling, sweet, thrilling and poignant film...and more people should see it. :)

    2) Breakfast at Tiffany's - What can be better than Audrey Hepburn? Anyone who hates football would love this film surely? And after the previous film you'd need a little lift of style and sexiness.

    3) South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut - Because you need to end on a high note, and laugh out loud, plus its awesome.
    However I'm probably being obtuse as if the demographics are women, then women generally don't seem to get drawn to South Park...not sure why. Perhaps Team America: World Police would be better?

  • Comment number 65.

    Good Evening Mr Kermode.

    As a chap who has a an absolute hatred of Football i would like to stick my three films up for inclusion.
    they would of course have to also appeal to the wife otherwise my life would not be worth living.
    my fist choice would be

    Hobsons Choice (1954)
    directed of course by the great David Lean and having absolutely brilliant performances from both Sir John Mills and Charles Laughton.
    i must have just about worn out my DVD of this.

    second would be
    Love Actually (2003)
    i must have seen this about thirty times up to now it's one of my guilty pleasures in life i'm afraid.
    the scene in the bedroom with Emma Thompson just about does it for me/
    (of course one has to go careful not to show emotion in front of the wife for fear of ridicule)

    lastly i know you said three but i can't really decide between them

    Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
    you've got mail (1998)

    yet again both guilty pleasures and Meg Ryan (looking seriously cute) before she dissapeared up her own B**kside and annoyed Micheal Parkinson.

  • Comment number 66.

    Dear Doctor K

    I think the point that's missing here is that avoiding football makes you a rebel and an outsider, which leads me to select the following films-

    Rebel without a cause

    Running on empty


    I believe these are films that define what it means to be an individual and somebody who refuses to follow the crowd.

  • Comment number 67.

    -Blue Velvet
    -The Forbidden Zone

    Blue Velvet is my favorite movie, The Forbidden Zone is strange and fun and Razorback because why not - I've never seen a World Cup match in my life but unless it is far more interesting than I suspect, there probably aren't any wild man-killing boars the size of small trucks on the field at any point during the games. If there are, please inform me immediately so I may convert into a sports fanatic.

    My other suggestion to Kermode was going to be that he simply watch Exorcist II: The Heretic three times on loop before the game starts with the theory that whether the marathon either leaves him completely numb or else makes the game feel like a welcome breath of fresh air after six hours of torture, it would solve his World Cup problem. But then I realized that would be reprogramming, not counterprogramming.

    I am not good at this.

  • Comment number 68.

    Alien, Aliens & Alien 3. *cough "Coming Home" cough*

  • Comment number 69.

    First of all, hats off to the Algerian coach for showing one of my all time favourite films in preparation for one of their matches.

    Three films made in countries with no talent for football, according to the official ranking by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association):

    1) Siddiq Barmak - Osama (2003)
    A gripping film made in Afghanistan (FIFA ranking #189) about the struggle of women under the Taliban. The topic may appeal to the football-hating sisterhood.

    2) F.W. Muranu - Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)
    German expressionism meets South Sea island exotica, filmed on Tahiti (FIFA ranking #191). A film about the loss of innocence due to Western colonisation.

    3) Nikita Mikhalkov - Urga, a.k.a. Close to Eden (1991)
    A heart warming film. Like Tabu, it's about the loss of innocence. But this time triggered by the introduction of television to the backwood plains of Mongolia (FIFA ranking #179). This the only film by Nikita Sergeyevich that I really like from beginning to end, because it's not his usual tedious obsession with the Chekovian aristocracy drinking chai in their dachas. (First I considered choosing "Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan" but that film just might feature some playful kicking of skulls.)

  • Comment number 70.

    You are naughty Dr K ....:-)
    Ok firstly I actually enjoy watching football though have been selective in the matches I've tuned into this time round. However if there was a choice films would win hands down. Now to my personal choices......
    The Searchers ....John Ford's classic western where men took shots at everything except a football net.
    The Seventh Seal... Ingmar Bergman's classic study of life, death, the existence of god etc in fact everything except 'Who scored the winner in the 1970 World Cup Final'?
    Waterworld ...... Even Pele can't walk on water.......
    I thank you

  • Comment number 71.

    how about the first three indiana jones movies....should take up most of the sport in any of them,and bloody good fun to watch.... p.s just watched antichrist..disturbing movie..may not sleep tonight.

  • Comment number 72.

    Well to describe how those curmudgeons that really cant keep their council for just 4 weeks every 4 years must feel, and for those England fans who really can't stand the England Supporters Band, how about

    Brassed Off?

    Next up it's Germany so rather than the jingoistic "The Great Escape" (yet again). I'm going to suggest "The Lives of Others" or "Good Bye Lenin"

    Assuming we get through that, it's the Argies. Two excellent recent Argentinian films are "Nine Queens" and "The Secret in their Eyes"

    After that it could be Spain. "The Orphanage" or "Fermat's Room"

    If the unthinkable happens and there are any English people left that would be completely unmoved by England having made it to the final to face, probably Brazil, then my selection is "City of God" or "Four Days in September"

  • Comment number 73.

    The rest of you can watch Braveheart while Andy Murray is winning Wimbledon

  • Comment number 74.

    The Three Colours Trilogy?

  • Comment number 75.

    I've been thinking that Dave McKean's and Neil Gaiman's "Mirrormask", Gilliam's "Tideland" and del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" would make an interesting triple-bill seeing as they all deal with young girls regressing into imaginary worlds to escape traumatic situations in real life and the subsequent blurring of reality and fantasy. And all have strong female leads to boot.

  • Comment number 76.

    3 films you could watch that were released in 1966 - a date etched into the English psyche:

    1) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
    2) Farenheit 451
    3) A man for all seasons.

    Interestingly (or maybe not) The Battle of Algiers was also released in 1966.

  • Comment number 77.

    Dear Doctor K

    A good night out for us who struggle to understand the appeal of footbal could simply be made with the following excellent films-

    The last man on Earth (Starring Vincent Price)

    Night of the Living Dead

    28 Days Later

    Instead of wasting time sat in a pub filled with football bores, these films would allow us a far more entertaining example of a population that's been turned into a bunch of mindless Zombies.

  • Comment number 78.

    aargh (#72) "keep their council" should, of course, be "keep their counsel"

  • Comment number 79.

    I am new at this but I hate football so here goes.
    My three would be
    Three Colours:Blue - wonderful film
    The Summer of '42 - stayed with me for a long time
    Lawrence of Arabia - Peter O'Toole - enough said

  • Comment number 80.


    "If the unthinkable happens and there are any English people left that would be completely unmoved by England having made it to the final to face, probably Brazil, then my selection is "City of God" or "Four Days in September""

    Or you could just watch Brazil. That's a documentary, right?

  • Comment number 81.

    How about a Woody Allen triple bill, it again Sam
    2.deconstructing Harry
    3.crimes and misdemeanors
    all full of wild self analysis and the meaning of what it is not to be a "team" player!!

  • Comment number 82.

    How about Nuri Bilge Ceylans films?



    Three Monkeys

    While everyone outside is either cheering or booing, inside will be little more than prolonged silence.

  • Comment number 83.

    I think an alternative "What sports could be like if they all weren't like football" triple bill could have potential:

    Death Race 2000 (there's a grand prix on at the same time as the next match isn't there?)
    The Running Man
    Rollerball (original one, obviously) to round it out.

    If only sports now were like how they were going to become back then...

  • Comment number 84.

    1. The Hidden 2

    2. Night at the Roxbury

    3. Exorcist II: The Heretic

    That'll learn ya.

    Stop moaning about sport, it doesn't make you sound clever, just out of shape.

  • Comment number 85.

    In my previous post (#33) I thought I'd redress the balance and offer the thoughts of a self-confessed football fan.
    After reading the posts that have been placed since then it's shown that the vast majority of posters are proudly anti-football.
    This is something I have absolutely no problem with at all, I'd rather people were honest and open with their opinions than be forced to endure the company of 'part-time' football fans, who wear the shirts, paint their faces and bellow along with the inane chanting only to lose any interest in the tournament the moment England get knocked out, but I digress.
    I've been pondering a couple of things. Would anybody refuse to watch a film because it was about football? I ask this because some of my favourite sports films are about sports that I have absolutely no interest in.
    For example: 'Tin Cup' and 'Friday Night Lights' are both excellent movies (about golf and american football, respectively, two sports that I can barely understand the rules of, let alone appreciate.) and I'd never rule out a well regarded film because of the subject matter.
    To be fair, there aren't many good films about football ('Escape To Victory' still gives me a nostalgic tingle, but it was a childhood fave) but last years 'The Damned United' was a genuinely good film. If anyone reading this gave it a miss because it was about football, you should definitely reconsider watching it. Mainly because the subject matter, Brian Clough, was the sort of man who was born to be portrayed on the big screen regardless of his profession. It's not really about football, It's more a story of the rise and fall flawed, egocentric but completely irrepressable genius, wonderfully portrayed by the excellent Michael Sheen.
    So, instead of watching Engand lose to Germany on sunday, why not give that a go?

    Incidentally, @eisenstein_a_go_go (#58), you're absolutely right, the Slovakia v Italy match was absolutely exhilerating, a reminder of why I love the beautiful game.

    Sorry, just had to put that in, you may continue your screeds.

  • Comment number 86.

    Dear Mark:

    This marks the first time I'm actually paying any attention to the World Cup, I used to not be a sports fan (I had to google the rules, for pity's sake) but then a movie of all things - Fever Pitch, which you mentioned - raised my curiosity. I so liked Colin Firth's and Mark Strong's characters I thought I'd give it a go.

    It's also ironic because other than Fever Pitch I absolutely hate movies about sports and find them unrelateable and dull to the point of finding them unwatchable.

    So, my triple bill -

    While I'm also a fan of moody films I think a triple bill viewed at the time of the World Cup should be one of movies that will innately cheer you up, because now that England is through to the next round you don't want to walk around contemplating existentialist issues when everyone else is bouncing around. (Well, I don't know, you might - personally I always find it profoundly annoying to be around happy people when I'm in a quiet mood - by contrast, being around happy people while I, too, have a spring in my step is great.)

    1. Shaun of the Dead.

    Brilliantly funny with a frankly terrific cast and great comedic timing, plus it's got something for everyone, even for that one person in the group who wants to watch a romanic comedy (they just have to ignore the zombie bits). In particular a great movie for people who, like me, love horror movies, as it contains references to many of the greats.

    2. Soft Top Hard Shoulder.

    Because you know, there can never be enough appreciation for the stellar Peter Capaldi. Soft Top Hard Shoulder is an understated, strangely charming road trip film written and directed by Capaldi, and more people need to see it. If you can't find it, get your Capaldi fix by watching In the Loop again, or catching the psychedelic and wonderfully insane The Lair of the White Worm, one of his other earlier projects (and hey, it's Ken Russell!).

    3. End on Fever Pitch.

    You know, yes, it's a football movie. But it'll put you just in the right frame of mind to go back to socializing with all your friends who just finished watching the game, and it reminds viewers that football fans might be a bit strange, but ultimately still nice enough people. And who can argue with Colin Firth, Mark Strong and an unexpected guest appearance by Stephen Rea?

  • Comment number 87.

    Amber_, (or may I call you Amber?)

    Well I suppose you could have Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" or "Brazil"(1944), which is about a composer pretending to be twins, or "Brazil"(2001) which is a Spanish crime thriller, or "Brazil"(2000) which is about a German family from Brazil, or you could have "The Boys from Brazil". I don't know of a documentary called "Brazil", there's been loads of stuff on Pele, though

    If England win, there will be a documentary, yes, and a drama and probably a musical and Mark will have to review it all. And all the football haters (in the UK) will really have it bad for decades and generations to come. Can you imagine? I also fear that the success and attention that team USA has received may spur the making of Hollywood films about football (soccer). You lucky, lucky people.

    There have been some really excellent films on football. The documentary that comes to mind is "Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos"(2006). Even football hating cineastes should find something worthwhile in that one.
    Then there is the recent "After the Cup: Sons of Sakhnin United" which I haven't seen but has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (I say tomatoes and you say... tomatoes :-) ). Then there was the trilogy drama "Goal!" charting the rise of a poor immigrant to sign for European clubs and play at the world cup using footage from the actual event.
    We've also had "The Damned United" which probably means nothing to people who never heard of Brian Clough. Then you have films that are somewhat incidental to football like Bend it Like Beckham. Obviously , it wasn't just football fans that saw and enjoyed that one.

    To be fair (as they say), there have been some shocking football related films too. The most recent one I saw was "Blown Apart" or "Incendiary" (funny how films have to get renamed in different countries). Ewan McGregor has an affair with Michelle Williams while her husband and son go to watch a football match at Arsenal and are killed by a suicide bomber. Osama Bin Laden is apparently an Arsenal supporter so he probably wouldn't have been too pleased about that.

    Talking of fans, Ken Loach is a BIG football fan, Paul Greengrass is a BIG football fan, Spike Lee is a BIG football fan, Dickie Attenborough is a BIG football fan, Michael Moore is a football fan, Kenneth Branagh is a football fan, Anthony Minghella was a football fan, Jackie Chan is a football fan, Ricky Gervais is a football fan, Ken Russell is a football fan, Danny Boyle is a football fan, Robert Redford is a football fan, Kevin Costner is a football fan, Ridley Scott is a football fan, Guy Ritchie (cough, cough) is a football fan and even Mark's buddy, Terrence Davies claimed to be an erstwhile soccer fan in of "Time and the City". And that's just recognized film directors. [I can find no evidence that McG or Michael Bay are football fans].

  • Comment number 88.

    Off the top of my head (and that's not a football pun):

    Withnail and I - the adventures of two quintessential thespian anti-athletes.

    Primer - Shane Carruth's flawed but fascinating, psuedo-scientific labyrinth of a film.

    Barry Lyndon - Kubrick will not be rushed. Best watched on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

  • Comment number 89.

    I'm not a football fan and somehow it's seen as unpatriotic by football fans not to be a pretend football fan during the world cup.

    My Top 3 films for avoiding sport but staying patriotic are:

    Hardware : Richard Stanley low budget sci-fi Horror. It's a great film, First I only watched it because it has Carl McCoy in it and I'm a Nephilim fan, but I love the look of the film and way the soundtrack fits in with it. It has the worst mechanical hand ever seen on film but it also has a BBC MOdel B working as a door entry system in the future, Burr Beep.

    Blade Runner : Has to be the original release with the voice over for me, some people say it's dumb but I think it gives the film a touch of black and white detective genre that goes with the visuals really well.

    Dog Soldiers : Not many Horror films are actually laugh out loud funny or have such great characterisations. So glad that they didn't get round to making a sequel to spoil my fondness for the original (Like they did with the awful 28 weeks later)

    Those are my 3 horror/sci-fi nerd/geek film recommendations for the patriotic but anti-world cup night in. With an accompanyment of hot dogs, (have to be from a can) Coke (for that nervous energy sugar buzz that keeps you jumpy for the horror) and a big bag of crisps (I recommend cool original dorittos)

  • Comment number 90.

    I confess I'm enjoying the World Cup, despite England's initial lacklustre performances. As an interlude to us playing Germany, I'd go for:

    1. Inherit the Wind.
    2. Harold and Maude.
    3. King & Country (Dirk Bogarde, 1964).

  • Comment number 91.


    I meant Terry Gilliam's Brazil. :) I apologize for forgetting that humor does not always translate properly in written form, but you sure showed me up when you pulled out so many other films with the same title - my head was spinning for a moment there! (Also yes, Amber is fine. I'm afraid my name had been taken already and I wasn't feeling all that creative the day I signed up. Still waiting for somebody to say "trousers", incidentally.)

    Full Metal Jackson has me pinned, I'm afraid. I would not say that I'm "proudly anti-football", but I have no personal interest in sports and would turn down a sports movie first in favor of most other kinds of films. I did see The Damned United just recently however and thought Michael Sheen gave yet another great performance in it. He's such a chameleon.

    Considering Dr. Kermode's original idea about female-targeted counterprogramming, a Powell and Pressburger triple bill would make for a very pleasant evening:

    -A Matter of Life and Death
    -Black Narcissus
    -The Red Shoes

    (With, I Know Where I'm Going! as an optional alternative.)

  • Comment number 92.

    Was it the presence of Michael Sheen that inspired you to watch 'The Damned United'?
    Maybe if more football themed films cast actors of his calibre instead of, apologies if you're a fan, Danny Dyer or Vinnie Jones then maybe I'd have more of them to recommend!
    He really is one of our best actors and no doubt there are numerous hollywood casting agents eyeing him up for the role of Tony Hayward in 'Oil Spill!-The Movie'
    The resemblance is uncanny.

  • Comment number 93.

    depending on my mood:

    the ipcress file + funeral in berlin + billion dollar brain
    the enigma of kaspar hauser + le rayon vert + fahrenheit 451

    as someone with a total sports bypass, i rejoice in your charming & curmudgeonly loathing of all things football

  • Comment number 94.

    As much as I can understand someone not liking a certain sport or the media hoopla created around it, I fail to see the point of watching something in "spite" of it. By doing so, don't you make yourself as dependent on your object of dislike as those who follow it religiously?

  • Comment number 95.

    #66 DanBrownShyamalan
    Excellent choices, great movies with a suitable theme! NICE!

  • Comment number 96.


    First post on here...

    I see that someone else has just mentioned Silent Running... which is certainly odd to me because (for some reason) I had a sudden urge to watch 3 films featuring interesting depictions of space and it's effect on man. I ended up watching:

    1. Silent Running
    2. 2001 A Space Odyssey
    3. The Ninth Configuration

    When did SF film making become all about explosions and pre-pubescent boys? I blame star wars (even though I enjoy the original 3). And yeah I know that Ninth... isn't strictly a SF film.

    As for the perfect antidote 3 to football movies.

    I really struggle with this because there are just too many movies and it's going to boil down to the quirkiness of the viewer. Some are going to react by watching the most profoundly pretentious twaddle while others might opt for brainless (but interesting to them) popcorn stuff. And I don't understand "chick flicks" to the extent I refuse to go with the girlfriend to see SatC2.

    So 3 "counter programming" films I've seen and enjoyed:

    1. When Harry Met Sally
    2. Amelie (actually anything by Jeunet might do)
    3. Dr Zhivago*

    * I really struggled with this one. I was trying to think of a romance film, preferably a period one and I realised I hadn't seen this one in a while. Gone with the Wind might be a good alternative.

  • Comment number 97.

    1. Brazil
    2. This is England
    3. Scotland, Pa!

    Did you see what I did there?

  • Comment number 98.

    If it's just football (or as the Americans would have it "soccer") that you hate then here are some alternative sports films to enjoy.

    American Football:
    1) Friday Night Lights
    2) Any Given Sunday
    3) Jerry Maguire

    1) Cobb
    2) Bull Durham
    3) Field of Dreams

  • Comment number 99.

    King Kong (1933)
    Drag Me To Hell

  • Comment number 100.


    1) On the Waterfront
    2) Raging Bull
    3) Rocky

    Or to counter-act the large amounts of testosterone on the pitch:

    1) Thelma & Louise
    2) Adam's Rib
    3) Sense and Sensibility


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