THE THIRD HALF-TIME

By Darko MITREVSKI

FISHCORB FILMS ESPAGNE - as PROD

Drama - Completed 2011

WW2 in occupied Europe: A story of a football club led by a Jewish coach that became a champion of the Nazi league.

    • Year of production
    • 2011
    • Genres
    • Drama, Romance
    • Countries
    • USA, NORTH MACEDONIA, SPAIN
    • Languages
    • BULGARIAN, SPANISH
    • Budget
    • 5 - 10 M$
    • Duration
    • 120 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Darko MITREVSKI
    • Writer(s)
    • Darko MITREVSKI, Grgur STRUJIC
    • Producer(s)
    • Robert NASKOV (Kino Oko Production), Roger CORBI (Fish/Corb Films), Yan FISHER-ROMANOVSKY (Fish/Corb FIlms)
    • Synopsis
    • A town in Southeast Europe, year 1939. Eleven young guys are gathered among the local soccer club named Macedonia, led by the iron fist of the club’s founder DIMITRY. KOSTA THE COUNT is one of those boys. Well, he isn’t really a count – he’s a gambler, a smuggler, a thief, a skirt chaser... but also the best striker in the team.
      Our story begins with two events that change the every day life of this small gang.
      The first event is one occasional encounter, when Costa meets REBECCA, a daughter of the Jewish banker DON RAPHAEL COHEN... and since that day Costa’s heart starts to pulse in the rhythm of gentle emotions caused by this sweet girl. Sweet yet too rich and untouchable for a poor soccer player with a notorious reputation.
      The second event is a result of DIMITRY’s despair regarding the long chain of lost matches. He comes to an idea to bring a man who could transform that merry bunch into a disciplined team. A man who would bring strategy and success, a man of steel will, a sprout of the superior breed: RUDOLPH SPITZ from Germany.
      That day when Mr. Spitz steps out from the train will remain engraved in the memories of the players: not at all the epic giant that Dimitry has announced, but a small common man in his late forties. And very soon that small man will start carving their skills, forcing them to exercise hard, even under the most grueling conditions. The sweaty trainings bring the results, so very soon Macedonia moves to a much higher position on the list of the National Soccer League.
      Rebecca also moves out: she decides to leave her family and start a new life - in the small soccer locker room. Her father renounces her and she is not welcome at her family home any more. A rich princess becomes a beggar, for the love of one fake Count. But they are both looking towards the future with their eyes full of optimism...
      One morning this ray of optimism disappears when a flock of bombers covers the sky - the Second World War has just come to town. Unlike the rest of the team, Dimitry greets the Nazis, admiring them as an answer for all of his longings for law and order. After all, isn’t his coach a German, a member of the proud race of masters?
      The shocking answer is unexpected: no, he is NOT! The new commander of town, the merciless colonel GAVRANOFF, brings to light information unknown to anyone: Rudolph Spitz has Jewish origin.
      So the game changes - what was just a sport now becomes a matter of pride. A small-town soccer team, led by a coach of forbidden ethnicity and consisted of players of enslaved country, soon starts to beat up the great Arian champions! The referees revoke their goals, the Nazi teams play tough against them, even armed soldiers are brought on the field as a threat but Macedonia keeps fighting and winning! Soccer becomes more than just a game – it becomes a rightful combat of the Good against the Evil.
      An order comes from the highest place: those Jew boys must be stopped! And soon an opportunity will occur: all the Jews from town are brutally taken out from their houses and send to the railway station. Their destination: concentration camp Treblinka. All the Jews, including Rebecca’s family except Rebecca because the name of that outcast girl is not on the lists for deportation. By some bitter irony, her forbidden love saves her life.
      On that very same day, Dimitriy should pay the price for his pact with the Devil: not only that he faces the dark side of the system he supported, but he is also assigned to personally deal with the man who fulfilled his sports dreams - to kill his own coach. Facing the decline of his beliefs, the “Iron” Dimitry breaks the rules for the first time in his life: he smuggles Spitz into the mountains, and as he watches him run to safety - he pulls the trigger, commiting suicide.
      The team is left without its leaders - it seems time has come for the colonel Gavranoff to triumph. He organizes a final match of the championship, giving them two choices only: to loose or to be shot. The players get together to decide what to do. Costa comes last, bringing news of his little daughter that has been born that morning... and that new life helps them to decide what has to be done.
      The next day the soccer field is empty. The entire team escapes to the mountains, to join the guerilla squads - to fight their third halftime!
      Many decades pass and almost all the characters of this story have left this world... except for one. There is an old woman in Tel Aviv - people call her “The Countess”, a widow of some deceased soccer player. She lives surrounded by photos. Some of them are memory of her family that vanished long time ago. The others have been taken recently: her children and grandchildren, a big line of descendants.
      Yet another proof that a woman can score as well!
    • Partners & financing
    • Looking for a German or/and Canadian Partner
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Aug 01, 2011
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