The Referee

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    The Referee


    Directed by

    Italy, Argentina


    96 min

    • Italian


    Venice Days

    Atletico Pabarile, the lamest team in the Sardinian third league, is humbled, as it is every year, by Montecrastu, the team led by Brai, an arrogant wheeler-dealer who is used to vexing Atletico´s peons because he is the biggest landlord in the area. The homecoming of young Matzutzi, who had emigrated, thoroughly shakes up the season, and Atletico Pabarile starts winning one match after another, thanks to the prowess of its new undisputed champion. The film cuts back and forth between the story of the two teams and the rising international career of Cruciani, an ambitious referee at the highest echelons of his profession, as well as the subplot in which two cousins playing for Montecrastu are involved in a feud linked to the archaic codes of sheep breeding. Matzutzi succeeds in winning the heart of Miranda, the daughter of the blind trainer Prospero, while Cruciani gets involved in a corruption scandal which will land him the gutter: he is caught red-handed, in fact, and sentenced to be exiled to the hell of the Sardinian third league.


    • Young People's Award - Cinemed International Mediterranean FF



    Stefano Accorsi
    Geppi Cucciari
    Jacopo Cullin
    Alessio Di Clemente
    Marco Messeri
    Grégoire Oestermann
    Benito Urgu
    Franco Fais
    Quirico Manunza
    Marco Cadau
    Andrés Gioeni
    Gustavo De Filpo
    Francesco Pannofino
    Paolo Zucca
    Barbara Alberti
    Patrizio Patrizi
    Sarah Mc Teigue
    Walter Fasano
    Andrea Guerra

    Director's Statement

    Aesthetically speaking, one of the avenues I investigated for this film is blending tones and film genres. While I have mainly opted for comedy and the light touch, I´ve interspersed the film with darker moments, such as a few of the stages in the international referee Cruciani´s descent into professional ‘hell´, or the minor subplot involving the ancestral codes of sheep breeding in Sardinia. By the same token, the epic and the grotesque, the highbrow and the lowbrow all mingle in the film and switch places quite unpredictably, at times. […] I chose to film in black and white, partly to achieve the maximum degree of abstraction from reality and from the constraints of time and place, to avoid the film´s being seen as an objective representation of the world of football, or a particular geographical context.



    Paolo Zucca

    Paolo Zucca


    Paolo Zucca (b. 1972 in Sardinia, Italy), after obtaining a degree in modern literature in Florence, was admitted to the RAI School for Film and Television Script writers. He earned a degree in directing at Cinecittà´s Academy of Film and Television. and his film thesis, the short BANANA ROSSA, was shortlisted for the Young Director Award at Cannes and the Foreign Press Golden Globes in Italy. He has directed many award-winning short films, documentaries and commercials. THE REFEREE is based on Zucca´s short film by the same title, L´Arbitro, winner of the David di Donatello prize for best short in 2009 and the Special Jury Prize at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. His latest film THE MAN WHO BOUGHT THE MOON has its premiere at the Busan IFF.

    Selected Filmography