Animation | 13mins | Dutch (Belgium) | 2013
“A football hooligan feels unconditional love for his club. However, being gay, he has to hide his identity in order to survive in this world that is so precious to him.”
Written & Directed by: Jan-Dirk Bouw
I love animated shorts, especially when they tackle issues. I Love Hooligans addresses the issue of homophobia in football, which is unfortunately still a thing – there are no openly gay footballers and homophobic slurs and chants are still commonplace at many matches.
So what happens if you’re gay but you love football so much that you’re willing to fight and die for your club, when you’re a hooligan?
I Love Hooligans is the real account of how a man lives in such a world. His choice is to repress his sexuality for the love of his football club, which has resulted in a withered individual who only wants to be loved but cannot abandon the very thing that is preventing him from finding it.
Hooliganism is fanatical, almost religion like. The club is their god. They live and die by the club. They find purpose not as an individual, but as a collective – their individuality disappears. It’s sad and it’s lonely if that collective cannot accept differences for the sake of a shared love.
The animation style and direction perfectly project hooliganism and the inner turmoil that this gay hooligan faces; it’s brutal, stark and dark, with the primary use of colour being the red and blue of the football kits.
I wasn’t immediately hooked and it wasn’t entertaining in an easily digestible way, but it’s honest and truly got me thinking.
Things I Liked: 1 - Addressing homophobia in football 2 - Animation style
Things I Didn't Like: 1 - Pacing 2 - Monotony