The World Cup of Cinema - Rooftop Film Club

Rooftop Film Club


The World Cup of Cinema

World Cup fever is upon us! It’s an exciting time for fans of sticker-albums, hilariously bad corporate tie-ins, and misplaced national optimism. And football, obviously.

Here at Rooftop, we wanted to join the fun. To bring film and football together in glorious harmony. So, in association with our friends at MUNDIAL, allow us to present…


(pause, while we wait for applause to die down…)


We’ve selected 32 of the finest films from around the world to represent the 32 teams competing in Russia.

While the small angry men on TV do their thing, we’ll be focusing on such intriguing match-ups as Morocco’s Casablanca vs Spain’s Pan’s Labyrinth, or Brazil’s City of God vs Costa Rica’s Jurassic Park.

Once we hit the knock-out stages, we’ll add the last 16 teams to our mega special wall-chart graphic (see above), to be updated as results come in. Keep up to date with the action by following #worldcupofcinema. Simples!

And then, after the final has been played and the new World Cup Champion is confirmed, we’ll screen the film that we’ve picked to represent the winning team on the roof of the Bussey Building. Exciting times, right?! Even if you won’t be watching the football, you gotta admit that you’re feeling hardcore tingles right now.

Screening details:

The screening will take place on Wednesday 18 July at 9pm, three days after the actual final. Feel like taking a gamble? You can book tickets right now, here, before we know the winner. Think of it as the cinephile’s sweepstakes!

We guess you’ll want to know the films that are competing… So here they are, the 32 finalists of the 2018 World Cup of Cinema:


Country: Egypt

Film: Clash (Mohamed Diab, 2016)

The country which gave us the phenomenal Mo Salah isn’t short of filmmaking talent either. The Egyptian military coup of 2013 and the riots that followed are the backdrop for this intelligent and claustrophobic thriller, which is set entirely within the confines of a police van containing protesters from both sides. Intense.

Country: Russia

Film: Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972)

They might be hosting the World Cup, but it’s safe to say that Russian cinema makes for significantly better viewing than Russian football. A landmark sci-fi film, Solaris was remade in 2002 by Steven Soderbergh, with George Clooney as the psychologist sent to investigate a strange phenomenon aboard a space station.

Country: Saudi Arabia

Film: Wadjda (Haifaa al-Mansour, 2012)

You might be surprised to learn that the first feature film to be made in Saudi Arabia was directed by a woman. #YouGoGirl #YaaaasQueeen #?. It’s the story of a young girl who enters a Qur’an recitation competition so that she can buy a bike with the prize money, and it’s an actual gem.

Country: Uruguay

Film: Alive (Frank Marshall, 1993)

A gripping survival thriller, Alive is based on the incredible true story (did things just get a lot more scary?) of a Uruguayan rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes mountains in 1972. Infamous for the scenes in which the survivors resort to eating their dead teammates, we’re pretty sure aspiring cannibal Luis Suarez is gonna love this one. #SorryNotSorry


Country: Iran

Film: Offside (Jafar Panahi, 2006)

The only actually football-themed film in our selection (Awks) comes from  Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who has achieved international acclaim despite technically being under long-term house arrest and banned from making films… Filmed guerilla-style at an actual World Cup qualifying match, it’s a comedy about a group of female football fans who disguise themselves as boys to get around the strict ban on women attending games. Take that, patriarchy.

Country: Morocco

Film: Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)

Get your tissues ready for a favourite here at Rooftop. This story of lovers and spies in WWII Morocco is a stone-cold classic.

Country: Portugal

Film: Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)

A gorgeous, enigmatic film in which two elderly Lisbonites uncover the secret past of their recently deceased neighbour.

Country: Spain

Film: Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

Set in post-Civil War Spain, Guillermo del Toro’s brilliant dark, twisted fairytale won three Oscars, and put the director of this year’s Best Picture-winner The Shape of Water on the map. If you haven’t seen this yet, we don’t know what to tell you.


Country: Australia

Film: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Stephan Elliott, 1994)

This riotous camp classic stars Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp, and Hugo Weaving as three drag queens touring the Australian outback in a battered bus (the titular Priscilla).

Country: Denmark

Film: Valhalla Rising (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2009)

Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn invented his own viking legend with this bloody, psychedelic adventure set in 11th-century Scandinavia, and starring everyone’s favourite Dane, Mads Mikkelsen, as a pagan warrior-slave known only as One Eye. (Since he only has one eye. So creative.)

Country: France

Film: Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)

Name a film that’s more quintessentially French than Amelie. We’ll wait. Sure,1960s New Wave classics like Breathless and Jules et Jim may have revolutionised cinema, but the picture-postcard vision of Paris in Jeunet’s whimsical romance takes the macaron.

Country: Peru

Film: The Milk of Sorrow (Claudia Llosa, 2009)

Like the national football team, there are few stand-out names in Peruvian cinema. But this subtle and moving film about the legacy of abuse  won an international trophy of sorts when it picked up the prestigious Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009.


Country: Argentina

Film: Wild Tales (Damian Szifron, 2014)

Messi and co. get the cinematic counterpart they deserve with this blistering, savagely funny collection of six short stories about various forms of imaginative, grisly, and blackly comic revenge.

Country: Croatia

Film: The High Sun (Dalibor Matanic, 2015)

A poignant and absorbing drama about conflict in the former Yugoslavia, The High Sun is a cultured addition to our tournament. ‘Cause we’re fancy like that.

Country: Iceland

Film: Rams (Grimur Hakonarson, 2015)

Estranged brothers Gummi and Kiddi must put aside their differences to save their sheep from disease in this offbeat, tragic-comic tale of rural life.

Country: Nigeria

Film: The Wedding Party (Kemi Adetiba, 2016)

Pub quiz-hounds will probably know that Nigeria’s film industry – Nollywood – is the second largest in the world in terms of volume, behind only Bollywood.The Wedding Party set the record for the country’s highest-grossing domestic release of all time in 2016 – a record which was then smashed by its sequel the following year.


Country: Brazil

Film: City of God (Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund, 2002)

This Scorsese-esque crime saga set in Rio de Janeiro’s notorious favelas, and starring their real-life inhabitants, became an international success in 2002 – coincidentally the year of Brazil’s last World Cup triumph. COINCIDENCE?

Country: Costa Rica

Film: Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

That’s right, the fictional island of Isla Nublar, home to cinema’s most ill-advised theme park, is meant to be somewhere off the coast of Costa Rica. But if you literally can’t wait for Costa Rica to not win  you can book tickets for the latest instalment of the Jurassic Park franchise – Fallen Kingdom – at the Bussey Building on July 27 right here.

Country: Switzerland

Film: My Life As a Courgette (Claude Barras, 2016)

Nominated for Best Animated Feature at last year’s Oscars, this charming little stop-motion gem is the story of self-styled ‘Courgette’, who is orphaned and sent to a children’s home after a tragic accident.

Country: Serbia

Film: Black Cat, White Cat (Emir Kusturica, 1998)

Feuding families, train robberies, and arranged double weddings are thrown together in colourful slapstick fashion in this Balkan Gypsy comedy from acclaimed director Emir Kusturica.


Country: Germany

Film: Victoria (Sebastian Schipper, 2015)

Famous for consisting of one single, unbroken, 140-minute take, the sheer craft of Victoria is as absorbing as its heart-pumping heist plot. (For real, try to see where the camera cuts away. Just try.)

Country: South Korea

Film: Oldboy (Park Chan-wook, 2003)

Park Chan-wook’s infamous neo-noir starts sees drunken businessman Oh Dae-su kidnapped and locked in a private prison without explanation. Suddenly released after 15 years, he has only one purpose: revenge. Later re-made by Spike Lee, it’s got the mother of all plot-twists.

Country: Mexico

Film: Amores Perros (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, 2000)

Before becoming a serial Oscar-winner with Birdman and The Revenant, Iñárritu made his name with this gripping debut, featuring three intersecting stories connected by a tragic car crash in Mexico City.

Country: Sweden

Film: The Square (Ruben Ostlund, 2016)

Winner of the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Ruben Östlund’s hilarious art-world satire has all the swagger and sharpness of a Zlatan Ibrahimovic one-liner.


Country: Belgium

Film: In Bruges (Martin McDonagh, 2008)

The medieval Belgian city provides an unlikely hideout for hitmen Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in this biting black comedy.

Country: England

Film: Withnail & I (Bruce Robinson, 1987)

Forget Gareth Southgate’s problems, choosing which film to represent England was the real selection headache. We’ve gone with Withnail & I, a cult favourite steeped in the proud national tradition of boozing. The Jamie Vardy of British Cinema, if you will.

Country: Panama

Film: Hands of Stone (Jonathan Jakubowicz, 2016)

Robert de Niro plays a legendary boxing trainer who comes out of retirement to mentor Édgar Ramírez’s rising star, in this biopic of Panamanian prizefighter Roberto Durán.

Country: Tunisia

Film: Couscous (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2007)

After losing his job at the local shipyard, Tunisian immigrant Slimane pursues his dream of opening a restaurant in his adopted French hometown, in this acclaimed family drama from Palme d’Or winning director Kechiche. We may, or may not be planning on serving couscous on the rooftop…


Country: Colombia

Film: Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra, 2015)

The bewitching tale of an Amazonian shaman and the two Western scientists who enlist his help to find a mythical healing plant, Embrace of the Serpent is one of the most breathtakingly cinematic films of the last few years.

Country: Japan

Film: Your Name (Makoto Shinkai, 2016)

This anime film smashed box office records in Japan two years ago. A genre-bending body-swap romance, it’s getting a live-action English-language remake courtesy of J.J. Abrams. It’s also effing adorable.

Country: Poland

Film: Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013)

Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015, Ida had critics hailing it as a masterpiece. Set in 60s Poland, it’s the story of a nun who makes a shocking discovery about her family history.

Country: Senegal

Film: Black Girl (Ousmane Sembene, 1966)

A young Senegalese woman’s hopes of a new cosmopolitan lifestyle in France are trashed when her new employers treat her as a servant, in the intensely political debut feature by Ousmane Sembène, who went on to become one of Africa’s most famous filmmakers.

And Finally…

If you want to watch the actual football, head to Hotel MUNDIAL in East London, where they’ll be screening every single game! Sign up to the MUNDIAL Newsletter to be kept updated with goings on at the Hotel here, and follow them on Instagram for more updates.