Archive of films Referee / L' arbitro

Italy / Argentina
2013, 96 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2014

A football comedy in which two regional teams compete for the third league’s top spot. The return of an experienced player to his native village on Sardinia brings success to the worst team in the league but fails to draw attention away from the problematic career of an ambitious referee. Disputes between related players also enter the game – relics of the antiquated customs reflecting the island’s pastoral roots.


In itself, the film’s opening "football ballet” scene suggests that its creator doesn’t take his national sport all that seriously, a fact confirmed by his story of the battle between two regional teams trying to make it to the top of the third league. Atletico Pabarile, the worst of the teams, unexpectedly acquires the necessary reinforcement in the form of experienced footballer Matutzi, who arrives back in his village after a stint playing abroad. The film also develops the parallel story of ambitious referee Cruciani and the machinations which cost him his career. And since this is Sardinia, the plot also focuses on the pastoral origins of the players and the centuries of tradition involving family feuds and revenge. In 2009 Paolo Zucca received the David di Donatello and other awards for his short film of the same name; unsurprisingly, he decided to turn his successful tale into a feature film. His quirky humour doesn’t stop at ridiculing sacred sports rituals, it also takes aim at the primitivism of antiquated customs and flawed human qualities. The black-and-white photography lends this satirical comedy the nostalgia of old newsreels.

About the director

Paolo Zucca

Paolo Zucca (b. 1972, Cagliari, Sardinia) studied modern literature in Florence and then transferred to the RAI School for Film and Television Scriptwriters, from where he graduated with the short film Banana Rossa (2005), shortlisted for the Young Director Award at Cannes and the Italian Golden Globes. Other short films include, The Referee, which won a national award for Best Short Film in 2009 and the Special Jury Prize at the festival in Clermond-Ferrand. His feature film bearing the same title was screened during the Venice Days event at the Venice IFF in 2013.


Le Pacte
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Tel: +33 144 695 959
Fax: +33 144 695 942
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Black & white, DCP

Section: Another View
Director: Paolo Zucca
Screenplay: Paolo Zucca, Barbara Alberti
Dir. of Photography: Patrizio Patrizi
Music: Andrea Guerra
Editor: Sarah Mc Teigue, Walter Fasano
Producer: Amedeo Pagani
Production: Classic SRL
Coproduction: BD Cine SRL
Cast: Stefano Accorsi, Geppi Cucciari, Jacopo Cullin, Alessio Di Clemente, Marco Messeri
Contact: Le Pacte

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