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FILM

This one’s a keeper BY EDDIE ALLNUTT

The Keeper Biography, Drama, Romance Directed by Marcus H. Rosenmüller Starring David Kross, Freya Mavor, John Henshaw and Gary Lewis 120 minutes Rating TBC

Y

ou don’t have to be a footie fan to enjoy The Keeper, however, just like the beautiful game, it flows with passion, drama and goes into extra time. It’s like a well-taken penalty that does hit the back of the net – not by a toe hack but rather by a deft touch that curls over the defensive wall. Biopics are about telling people’s stories. Often, if we didn’t know that truth that underpins them, they’d be about as believable as Batman. However, The Keeper, goes one step further; you know the core of reality is there – albeit poetic licence – but you still end up shaking your head thinking, just how could that be? Bernhard Carl Trautmann was born in Germany in 1923. He joined the Luftwaffe in WWII and served as a paratrooper on both the Eastern and Western Front. He was captured by the British and sent to a PoW camp and that’s about where the film kicks off. David Kross (The Reader) plays the blonde and blue-eyed ‘Bert’ Trautmann with style. He portrays an ex-Nazi who was caught up in Hitler’s juggernaut and didn’t have much choice. When the war finished, Bert declined an offer of repatriation, because of the surreal chance to be goalie for Man City. Acceptance was a sour pill for many supporters, as this kraut wasn’t quite their cuppa thanks to recent memories of spending more time in bomb shelters than dance halls. Man City’s decision wasn’t kosher with the Jewish either – many of them season ticket holders – who would have preferred a different ‘kippah’, so it did take some heroics, which happened in a 1956 FA CUP final to get them onside. Kross gets good support from Freya Mavor who plays Margaret Friar. Margaret gets acquainted with Bert through her dad and romance slowly blossoms. Her dad, Jack Friar (John Henshaw) who manages the local store and struggling football team, sees Bert punching above his weight in the PoW goalmouth and thinks he could be useful if he can get him on the other side of the barbed wire, but to do so, he’ll first have to convince corrupt camp Sergeant Smythe (Harry Melling). Jack’s dry English humour and straight shooting add perfectly to the mix. Director Marcus H. Rosenmüller has not only given us a sportsman biopic, but he also exemplifies what sport can do to reconcile countries if there’s give and take, honesty and forgiveness on both sides. The football scenes are done extremely well so credit to the production crew. Interestingly, Trautmann, before being a British PoW, was also captured by the French and Soviets though escaped from them. He received an Iron Cross and was one of only 90 of his original 1000man regiment to survive the war. Manchester United manager Matt Busby once said to his team: “Don’t stop to think where you’re going to hit it with Trautmann. Hit it first and think afterwards!” Trautmann died in 2013 but lives on forever in football folklore.

PROGRAMME OUT

8 AUGUST nelsonartsfestival.nz

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