It's a simple but unusual idea: a film festival devoted to movies and documentaries about football. Kicking + Screening begins tomorrow night in the Belsize Park Everyman with a showing of Once in a Lifetime, a film chronicling the rise and fall New York Cosmos, the team that brought Pele to America.
Ten films in total will play throughout the week-long festival, making use of the four Everyman cinemas (Hampstead, Belsize Park, Baker Street and Screen on the Green in Islington). Highlights include The Two Escobars, which tackles the infamous killing of Colombian soccer star Andres Escobar, One Night in Turin, which recalls England's emotional 1990 World Cup campaign, and the mandatory final-night screening of Escape to Victory, with perhaps the most unusual casting ensemble in cinema history (Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and Max von Sydow kicking about with the likes of Pelé, Ossie Ardiles and Ipswich legend John Wark).
Many of the screenings includes special introductions by people connected with the films (including Ossie).
It's a great idea, and one with more legs than the Manchester United reserve squad. Omissions from this year's schedule include such classics as The Arsenal Stadium Mystery, When Saturday Comes, Fever Pitch and the compellingly experimental Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. Plenty of material, then, for a rematch next year.
Kicking + Screening runs 23-29 September across Everyman cinemas. See the full listings for details.