KICK OFF IN GERMAN WITH UWE RÖSLER
TITLE Kick-off in German with Uwe Rösler PUBLISHER Goethe Institut ADDRESS Churchgate House 56 Oxford Street Manchester M1 6EU Tel 0161 237 1077 DATE 1996 PRICE £3.70 (incl postage) RUNNING TIME 14 minutes
I thought I had better get round to reviewing this video before it became recent history - I've had it for longer than I care to remember. The video is produced by the Goethe Institut (German spelling!) which is funded - I believe - by the German government, and whose remit is to promote all things German, especially the language and culture. What better way to debunk the stereotypical view of Germany and Germans, so cherished by the English media, than to make use of a German (or three!) who has a special relationship with us all.
The video itself is in German (except for the voice-over), but is provided with subtitles, so is comprehensible to non-German speakers. In line with the objectives of the Goethe Institut, the video aims to tell us not just about a German footballer, but about his coming to England, his likes and dislikes, and the contrasts to life in Germany - it is most definitely not a promotional video to get you to learn the German language.
Essentially, the video is an interview with Uwe, interspersed with goals, and shots of life around Maine Road. Amongst other subjects, Rösler answers questions on his special relationship with the fans and his understanding of English humour (he was quite clearly a little perplexed by it for some time after his arrival, though he did think it was tied into the English being more open than Germans). The video touches on his rise to 'hero' status, with interviews with fans outside Maine Road, including one who talked 'Mad-for-it-Manc-speak', lots of hand gestures interspersed with monosyllables - let's hope they don't show it in Germany, otherwise their anthropologists will be over here in droves!
Rösler goes on to talk about his then (and now) current problem of not being able to find the back of the net. There's a nice shot of him talking to Bert Trautmann in a restaurant at Maine Road, with Bert telling him not to worry - Rösler however, looks very worried! One thing that struck me, as someone who wasn't at Maine Road at the time, was the quality of some of the goals he scored, he looked a genuine goalscorer, a very different player from the one I've been watching for the last two years.
Eike Immel also puts in an appearance, drinking orange juice in a pub with Rösler (drinking Guinness!). There are lots of cultural snippets, from the English breakfast through Sauerkraut, to the poverty of some parts of Manchester - not a problem for old Uwe as he came from Leipzig in the old DDR. We are repeatedly treated to the correct pronunciation of Uwe's name - 'oo-veh', though bizarrely, the English voice-over clearly calls him 'oo-voh' at one point.
All in all, this is a nice little video, cheap and giving us something which footie videos rarely give us - an insight into the life of a footballer, perhaps more of an insight than we would get from seeing interviews of English players. Well worth the money; hopefully they will still have some left, as it was advertised in City magazine on a 'first come, first served' basis.
Aufwiedersehen Uwe Rösler ('oo-veh rur-zluh') und alles guete.