9 August 2017



"One hell of a documentary"
The Hollywood Reporter
"A riveting portrait of football culture" ****
Now Magazine
Eye-opening…high quality-piece of factual filmmaking"
Screen Daily

'So even when times are hard, I'll be shouting your name on the street,
Yellow flows through my veins, Beitar always and forever...!'
Chant of fans of Beitar Jerusalem Football Club.

'They think that by shouting 'Death To The Arabs!,' they express their love for the Jewish nation.'
Itzik Korenfine, Chairman of Beitar Jerusalem Football Club.

Thanks to a little autistic family member whose specialised subject is football, I'm not nearly as clueless about the beautiful game as I used to be. An old boyfriend of mine (a Man. Utd. fan, booooooo!) used to nearly piss himself laughing at the way I referred to a hat-trick as a 'triple-hat' in my younger days.

Mind you, there's still a touch of the old Mrs. Doyle from FATHER TED about me as I yell 'Go on, my son!' from the comfort of my armchair and rate the players in terms of their attractiveness and sex appeal as opposed to their goal-scoring abilities.

Everyone who knows me knows that I have a big thing for Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid heart-throb who keeps procreating with all these different women without having once given me a call regarding the possible use of my still-fertile womb. Harrumph. Anyway, on to more serious business, if there is any business on God's green Earth more pressing than me and CR7 finally meeting to get it on, haha.

FOREVER PURE is the latest fantastic and hard-hitting documentary from DOGWOOF, the UK's leading documentary company. They're the peeps who recently brought us LIBERATION DAY, the fascinating story of Eastern European industrial metal band Laibach getting to be the first ever rock group to play in North Korea, playground of the chubby dictator with the itchy trigger finger.

FOREVER PURE is the story of one season in the life of Beitar Jerusalem Football Club, which will hereafter in this review be known as Beitar FC or just plain Beitar. During this fateful season, the 2012-2013 one (football seasons follow the school year calendar), Beitar's owner, Russian-Israeli billionaire Arcadi Gaydanak, did something shocking and totally unexpected. 

He bought up two Muslim players from Chechnya for inclusion on Beitar FC, the only club in the Israeli Premier League never, ever to have signed an Arab player.

Why did he do this? He admits freely himself in the film that he didn't have a clue whether or not the two Muslim lads he signed were any good at kicking a pig's bladder around a square of grass. (Hang on, is that rugby???) He claims that he did it purely to expose the ugly, racist side of the so-called beautiful game.

Well, it certainly did that. An outburst of racial unrest following on from his actions nearly brought the once-proud club to its knees. The point I was going to make, however, is that billionaires normally act out of their own private business interests.

Money, and the acquisition of more money, usually tends to dictate their actions. Everyone seems agreed nowadays that football is more about cash than the sheer love of the sport, teamsmanship and good strenuous physical exercise. 

It's hard to imagine a rich, soulless Mr.-Burns-from-THE-SIMPSONS-type billionaire acting out of an urge to do something altruistic, something humanitarian, purely for the sake of the increasingly materialistic sport.

Anyway, this Arcadi Gaydanak fella lit the blue touch paper and stood well back as the explosion happened. The fans of Beitar, the self-proclaimed 'most racist club' in the business, did not take too kindly to his decision to include two Muslims on the team that had previously been 'forever pure,' that is to say, Arab-free. At least, the hardcore radical fan-base known as 'La Familia' didn't take to it too kindly...

La Familia deserve a paragraph or two of their own. Infamous for their fiercely nationalist views, they occupy the East Stand of the sweetly but possibly inappropriately-named 'Teddy Stadium,' Beitar's home turf, at the home games and proudly wear the yellow and black colours of the footy team they've followed since birth and would nearly give their lives for, it's that important to them.

They chant terrifying slogans like 'Death To The Arabs!' and 'Beitar Till Death!' and some cover their faces like terrorists when engaging in bad footy-fan behaviour or making rude gestures while on camera. And yet it's the Muslims, the so-called 'Arabs,' whom they're calling terrorists and to whose presence on their team they're objecting.

Let's take a look at the two lads whose inclusion in the Beitar team caused all the controversy. Zaur Sadayev and Dzhabrail Kadiyev were two Muslim-Russian players from Terek Grozny FC in Chechnya. They were aged 23 and 19 respectively. One was a striker and one a defender, I forget which was which. Channelling my inner Mrs. Doyle again, haha.

Anyway, they both seemed like absolutely lovely, quiet lads to me. Little Kadiyev in particular, the baby of the pair, was absolutely adorable with his head of lovely curly hair and his Mammy rubbing his head gently and telling him he needed a haircut when she came to visit him at work at one point. Mammies everywhere, myself included, would just have melted at this bit. For crying out loud, he's only a child...!

The abuse the two lads took from La Familia, the hardcore nationalist group of fans, was pretty horrific. At the end of the day, they were just two young fellas bought and signed by a team to play football for them, yet they ended up being pawns in a racist outpouring of hate the like of which the game of football had never seen before.

Imagine running out onto the pitch, ready and all fired-up to do the job you're being paid for and hearing the fans singing 'Fuck you, fuck you, Kadiyev!' to the tune of The White Stripes anthemic hit song 'Seven Nation Army,' the one that gets played at a lot of footy matches. How is that good sportsmanship? How is that fair play? How is that the way to treat anyone?

The handsome goalkeeper-captain of Beitar FC Ariel Harush, who'd give my precious Ronaldo a run for his money in the heart-throb stakes any day of the week (and I don't say that lightly, my darlings!), came in unfairly for a whopping share of the abuse.

At a press conference called to officially welcome the two new players to the team, Ariel Harush, a six-foot hunk of gorgeous man-muscle if ever there was one, did his duty as the captain and showed hospitality, friendship and acceptance to the two Muslim lads.

For this he was reviled by La Familia and their many followers. He was no longer Ariel Harush, national hero. He was Ariel Harush, that 'son-of-a-bitch captain.' He was abused so much for this one act of common courtesy to two fellow players that, in the film, he actually seemed baffled by the level of hostility shown to him and became quite depressed by it. La Familia wanted him replaced by Ofir Kriak, a player who was 'one of their own.'

Beitar Chairman Itzik Korenfine came in for his share of the mud-slinging. 'We will rape your daughter,' he was told by the anti-Muslim faction of Beitar's fans, and he even needed the same level of police protection as government ministers for a time. It was unbelievable but, sadly, it was all too true.

Even Sadayev scoring a goal for Beitar, an historic moment in anyone's language, didn't cause a cessation in hostilities. La Familia organised a boycott of Beitar's games that hurt the club
management badly in their pockets, and an arson attack on the club wiped out what Meir Harush, the club's devoted caretaker, refers to as the 'Museum of Beitar Memorabilia' that kids coming to have their Bar-Mitzvahs at the club have always enjoyed seeing.

I liked Dario Fernandez, the long-haired Argentinian player for Beitar with the sexy-as-f**k accent, who says that he 'gets along with everyone at Beitar because he doesn't give a shit about religion.' He claims that religion formed the root of all evil at the club.

There's a really sweet scene in which the Jewish lads, having formed what they call a 'prayer quorum,' all bung on their little yarmulkes and do a spot of praying in their hotel lobby. There's a sense of camaraderie, friendship and gentle ribbing-of-the-new-guys about them here that would really touch you, right in the feels department.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that you shouldn't give a shit about religion. I myself will be begging God frantically on my deathbed to forgive me my many fuck-ups and let me into his chocolate factory. So, by all means give as many shits as you like about your own religion. Just mind your own business- in the nicest possible way- when it comes to your neighbour's...

FOREVER PURE is available to buy now from DOGWOOF, and Sandra's reproductive faculties are available to Cristiano Ronaldo only, for the time period beginning now and ending whenever the menopause hits, but I'm not expecting it any time soon so it's grand...!

About Dogwoof
Dogwoof is the UK’s leading documentary film distributor and sales agent. Founded in 2004, notable Dogwoof successes include The Age of Stupid, Restrepo, Undefeated, Blackfish, The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence and Cartel Land. 2017 titles include Whitney 'Ca I Be Me' by Nick Broomfield, City of Ghosts by Matthew Heineman and SXSW winner The Work. The company recently launched its first film investment fund, focusing on the development & production of feature docs, remake rights and series, gearing up the company towards vertical integration.

Key Information:
Release Date: 7 August 2017
Release format: On demand
Running time: 85 mins

Certificate: Exempt


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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