11 February 2019
Home Games is the story of 20-year-old Alina, who dreams of making the national women’s football team.
A stunning new Ukrainian film, Home Games, opens on Friday 22 February - and Women in Football members can now book your place for the opening night at Bertha DocHouse, the UK’s only cinema dedicated to documentary film.
Directed by Alisa Kovalenko, Home Games is the story of 20-year-old Alina, who dreams of making the national women’s football team.
Alina's got a good shot - a standout since the age of seven - and she’s now a premier league player. However there are more than a few obstacles standing in her way, not least when her mum dies at the age of 39, leaving behind Alina's beloved half-brother and sister, Renat (6) and Regina (7).
Barely out of adolescence herself, Alina becomes a substitute mother. The children's father disappears. There is no money, and life is a mess. Alina's grandma is on hand and tries to help but she's losing her eyesight. The dysfunctional family lives in a cramped one-room apartment.
She is buoyed by the relationships with two strong women in her life - her careworn grandmother and best friend Nadya - and the fierce love she feels for her siblings.
In this moving portrait, director Kovalenko compassionately observes Alina’s struggle to make ends meet and determination to convince her unsympathetic coaches she can make it to the top of the beautiful game.
Director Alisa said: "Today, in Ukraine, only 200 girls play football professionally. The conditions are basic, not to say harsh. I know this subculture well because my cousin played in the very last USSR women’s national team. I was always fascinated by those women, so strong on the pitch, especially I found out what they’ve been through in their lives.
"I decided to follow a girl, Alina, one of the best Ukrainian football players, who could have been my cousin, 25 years ago... Home Games is not just a film about football, it’s a film about offsides, when life starts to play tricks on you. It’s a story about the identity construction of a young girl on the edge of adulthood, constructing her identity as she is forced to take her first adult decisions. The main conflict line of my hero, Alina, is universal: remain faithful to your family or emancipate yourself from an heritage of poverty."
Tickets for the screenings on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 February can be purchased by clicking on the link here. They are priced at £9/ £7 (Conc.)/ £5 Off-peak.
The Bertha DocHouse is based at Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick, London WC1N 1AW.
Take a look at the film's trailer below.
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