Jan Koller – the story of ordinary boy (2022)

Jan Koller – the story of ordinary boy (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: Jan Koller – the story of ordinary boy (2022)
Director: Petr Vetrovsky
Cast: Jan Koller, Zuzana Sophia, Petzold, Petr Kollerolder, Petr Koller,Katerina Kollerová, Hedvika Kollerova and Pavel Nedved
Genres: Documentary/Sports
Release date: 10 August 2022
IMDB Rating: 7/10
Languages: Czech
Duration: 1h 48m


Jan Koller – the story of ordinary boy (2022)


“Some lifestyle, that was not worn in the village. I learned all the wrong things from the older boys,” induce Jan Koller right at the beginning of his portrait medal. So, it is rather a proper medal, as the footage approaching two hours can overwhelm the viewer with a lot of statistics and career highs and lows, but towards the end, it can also suffocate a little with constant strong matches about how unique the life story of the popular Dino is.

Apart from the prologue teasing Koller’s greatest career success, i.e. winning the Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund, director Petr Větrovský stuck to a chronological narrative. This way, we get to know Koller’s father, brother, and friends from childhood, who remember the infamous beginnings of the long man from Smetana Lhota in South Bohemian. There, after moving from Prague, Koller came into contact with the ball for the first time, and although he had to constantly deal with mention of his clumsiness, he persisted in his hobby. And it seemed for a long time that football would only be a beloved leisure activity – the young man trained as a tractor fitter and worked for a while at the JZD there.

With the brigade at the Czech National Bank, where Koller put freshly invalid coins into a pile after the dissolution of the federation, came the opportunity, even from today’s point of view, to participate in the training of the Spartan B-team. The good-natured giant, uncertainly moving between the posts of goalkeeper and striker, made a very good mark and soon after began to slide out of the lineup of the “A” of the prominent Horst Siegl. The latter also took part in the filming of the documentary and his statements zigzagged more madly than in the opponent’s penalty area – a potentially heated confrontation between Koller and Horst Siegl, who was therefore probably behind Dino’s premature end in Athletic Club Sparta Praha, will not happen.

The entire document is similarly moderate. Except for rare moments of impetuousness, Koller was not one of the juicy morsels for the tabloid press. His personal life was quite orderly, his former teammates still remember him fondly. The peaceful, pleasantly flowing atmosphere of the film, which does not want to shock, rather offers a nostalgic recollection of the beginning of the millennium, when Koller (and by extension the whole of Czech football) was at its peak.

Větrovský managed to get several famous footballers in front of the camera, led by Pavel Nedvěd, Karel Poborský, Milan Baroš or Tomáš Galásek, football connoisseurs may also recognize Tomasz Radzinski, Sebastian Kehl, Roman Wiedenfeller. Coaches Ivan Hašek, Jozef Chovanec, and Jozef Jarabinský were also present, on the other hand, Karel Brückner and Matthias Sammer (Koller’s coach from Dortmund) did not participate in the filming. The plethora of domestic and foreign names is truly respectable for a domestic documentary, thanks to which the talking heads do not get bored even towards the end of the film.

However, this does not apply to the repeated highlighting of Koller’s diligence, perseverance, and steadfastness despite the adversity of the fans and the distrust of the leaders. The final 20-minute film searches in vain for a place to end the film, and so more and more personalities appear, saying the same thing in different sentences. As if it were necessary to confirm that the fans mocking Koller’s stockiness were wrong and that the 202-centimeter-tall forward, despite his genetic disposition, has developed into an athlete with passing technique.

In addition to interviews with the guests, we will also see several newly filmed illustrative shots in which Koller drives a tractor or an old Škoda, trains, or just looks thoughtfully into the camera. Fortunately, there is no shortage of valuable archive snapshots including both the footballer’s goals, as well as the still pleasantly chilling clips from Euro 2004. Animated newspaper headlines capturing the media mood of the time are a pleasant addition, and most of the footage is colored by inconspicuous motifs as if from a music bank. Apart from the annoying and repeatedly repeated song by Marek Ztracený, no stylistic decision draws attention to itself, and although individually it is nothing world-shattering, together the form is chosen adequately for what it wants to say.

Větrovský managed to focus on key or memorable moments, which thus receive adequate space. This applies not only to winning the title with Dortmund but also to the curious match in which Koller had to stand in goal against Bayern Munich’s strikers. Although after leaving Dortmund in 2006, Koller’s career went down significantly, and his stints in Monaco, Nuremberg or Samara did not bring him further laurels, the reckless striker does not remember these periods with any bitterness. On the contrary, the entire documentary consistently adheres to the narrative of an ordinary Czech boy who made it unexpectedly far. Which is certainly endearing, if by no means revelatory; but for football fans, this dose of nostalgia for the recent past will work without problems.

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