CINEMATIC SPORTS

Ross Hunter

Sports and cinema. Two pastimes that glue us to the screen; that captivate us with heroes and villains and unique stories that rapidly change. Where hope disintegrates before our eyes, then rouses and appears from what seems like nowhere. Where the human spirit is distilled and tested in a series of high stakes, winner takes all challenges that brings out the very best and the very worst of us.

Sometimes sports and film combine in a high octane, beautiful and emotionally driven alchemy of ingredients that borrow from the best of both worlds. Unpredictability, comradery, depth of feeling, pain and conflict. The alchemy doesn’t always work; sometimes oversentimental, sometimes predictable and shallow. But when it does, we find ways to relate to our personal circumstances. Sport mirrors the overcoming of challenges as we attempt to create our own personal bests in our pursuits. By combining it with the unique storytelling devices that only cinema can provide, our experience is brought to new heights. Whether real or fictional, we can explore ourselves through the trials and tribulations of those we see on the big screen.

Whether high profile events or small, intimate challenges in a local community, the moving image requires a level of flexibility to effectively engage with sports from a cinematic perspective. Yet cinema thrives in this arena. Cinema has the opportunity to change the way we engage with sports. We can slow the sprinter down to witness every sinew working overtime to cross the finish line. We can stare into the eyes of the boxer before they deliver the killer blow. We can spend our time in the private confines of the dressing room after a sickening defeat. There are no limits when it comes to viewing sports through the scope of cinema and our relationship with sports is all the richer for it.