May 13, 2011

Cricket films

A renaissance in sports documentaries?

Liam Brickhill

Out of the Ashes, released last year, charted the rise of the Afghanistan cricket team. This summer, the similarly-named From the Ashes tells the story of the Botham-inspired 1981 Ashes series and Fire in Babylon provides a fresh perspective on the world-beating West Indian team of the 1970s and 1980s. Barney Ronay, writing in The Guardian, asks whether the new wave of sports documentaries mark the start of a new relationship between sport and film.

From the Ashes and Fire in Babylon will duke it out for the title of most successful British cricket film of all time, if only because they are pretty well the only British cricket films. That they should be on general release in the same month suggests at worst a bubble, at best a movement, or perhaps simply a sense of a tenacious mini-genre beginning to bite. Sport, for so long a bystander in the multiplex foyer, might finally be about to take its seat in the main screen.

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

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