Selected as Spain’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film in the 91stAcademy Awards, this is a heart-warming and humorous film starring people with varying mental disabilities, making their debut as actors. Directed by Javier Fesser, it deals with the breaking down of prejudice with lots of insights and laughs.

Mario Montes (Javier Gutierrez) is the arrogant and argumentative assistant trainer of a basketball team who lives with his mother while trying to sort out his relationship with his wife.

During a game he has a very public argument with the head trainer, and is sent out of the arena.

After far too much to drink he crashes his car into a stationary police vehicle and is sentenced by a judge to serve a jail term, or do 90 days of community service, working with mentally disabled basketball players (who he calls “retards”).

On arrival at his new workplace he says to the manager, “My job is to train normal players and these guys aren’t players, or normal”. The manager’s reply is “And who is normal Mario? Are you and I normal?”

It all works out in a rather predictable and slightly corny way, but it’s an engaging, film, told with bright colour and music over 204 minutes. The viewer leaves with a smile – and perhaps more understanding of people living with disabilities.

Showing at the Spanish Film Fetival which runs until 26 May at Paradiso Palace Cinema, Northbridge. Champions is showing for the final time on May 12.

Watch the Trailer…



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