The players and fans of the Zagreb-based ice-hockey team Medveščak deserve credit for a great Croatian sport story that has been unfolding in the past years both inside and outside the arena. They have successfully rehabilitated a sport that has almost been neglected among sport lovers in general. Of Hockey And Bears, a film directed by Josip Ivančić and Radoslav Jovanov Gonzo, tells us about the club, but also about the spirit and passion invested in its matches. At the same time when Of Hockey And Bears is about to have its theatrical release in Cinema Europa, another great ice hockey story is coming to ZFF after having captivated the audience and critics at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
The documentary Red Army, directed by U.S. filmmaker Gabe Polsky and executive produced by Jerry Weintraub and Werner Herzog, has been included in the competition program of the 12th ZFF. The film tackles the famous Soviet ice-hockey school and the USSR's national ice-hockey team's domination during Cold War.
In this masterfully directed documentary, described by Werner Herzog as extraordinary and beautiful at the same time, interviews with former hockey players alternate with archive footage. The game of the Soviet team was based on team work and that was the secret of their fantastic success. The film concentrates on its captain, Slava Fetisov, the winner of the highest Soviet decorations and one of the first players who continued their careers in the American NHL after the disintegration of USSR. The footage used in 'Red Army' also includes some unseen material that reveals unconventional techniques of the genius of Soviet ice hockey, coach Anatoli Tarasov.
The Chicago-born director Gabe Polsky played ice hockey himself while studying at Yale. He has produced a few films so far and Red Army is his feature-length directorial debut.
The trailer is available here.