Dirs: PaulCrowder, John Dower. US. 2006. 98 mins.
Aiming for the huge double demographicof football fans and 1970s nostalgics, Once In A Lifetime narrates the rise andfall of the New York Cosmos football team
Shot on HDD, it'san absorbing trip which baits its public with full-on football footage and ano-expense-spared soundtrack of '70s' classics from the likes of James Brown,Steely Dan and the Osmonds. It also works on a dramatic level, using what atfirst seems the rather static and conventional approach of memory-laneinterviews with players, promoters and managers to build little eddies of conflict.
Picked up by TheMiramax Company in North America and Pathe in the UK (where it will be releasedin mid-May on around 40 screens), the film should attract interest in otherterritories where the memory of this short-lived experiment in the Americanisationof the beautiful game still raises a smile or a grimace. More than one of thepundits interviewed in the film makes the point that the experiment was aheadof its time, and while innovations like the shootouts that were invented toassuage the US allergy to draws have not stuck, others
In a nation whereteams are referred to as 'franchises', it was appropriate that Cosmosshould have been the creation of Warner Communications' boss Steve Ross, a sortof proto Rupert Murdoch. The shrewd but flamboyant Ross is the film's handsomesvengali, while the villain of the piece
The major no-showis Pele, who "declined to be interviewed" (information which is ironicallyaccompanied by the ringing of a cash register), but the film gets around theproblem elegantly by suggesting