Recently I watched Tom Meets Zizou - Kein Sommermärchen (Not a Summer's Tale), a German documentary film about the life and career of German football player Thomas Broich. Directed by Aljoscha Pause, the movie trails Broich's life from 2003 to 2011, from SV Wacker Burghausen (second division club) in Germany to Brisbane Roar in Australia.
Thomas Broich is one of my favourite players in the Brisbane Roar. Watching him on the ball and witnessing his outstanding footwork is awe-inspiring and breathtaking. Although he's not the top scorer on the team, he is definitely the most influential setting up numerous goals for the Roar. I have often wondered, what is a phenomenal German football player doing in Australia?
Tom Meets Zizou is a brilliant documentation of the trials and tribulations of a modern footballer. At the beginning of Broich's professional career in 2003, he was only recognised as a player with potential; however by the end of 2003, almost every Bundesliga club wanted him. Interviews started, photo shoots were done and newspapers wrote about him. He was the rising star.
This film is not about the usual sports star; it's not about the training regimes, gym sessions or how to perfect a certain technique. Instead, you get Thomas Broich, a man who goes to pottery lessons after training, reads James Joyce and plays the harmonica. He is labelled as a different sort of football player, an intellectual one, which eventually causes him to be singled out.
You see Broich's career unfold as he talks about his clashes with many coaches, rebellion against social norm, how he became disillusioned, and his experience with depression in 2009. His talks about his arrogance and stubbornness as he critically reflects on past events showing his ability to self evaluate and Broich also explains the difficulties of balancing his love for football and living a life the way he wants to. The football environment in Germany clashes with his personality, which, in turn, doesn't give him the freedom he desires.
Throughout the film Broich talks about his dream of living abroad and how important it was for him. After a coffee with coach Ange Postecoglou, Broich decides to sign a three-year deal with Brisbane Roar in 2010 to fulfil his dream. Seeing how Broich has found that balance and satisfaction in Brisbane, it just proves that Ange's ten hour drive across Europe for that coffee was totally worth it.
Eight years in the making, it was extremely refreshing to hear Broich's thoughts and his reflections on certain events. His honesty has made this film insightful, thought provoking, intriguing and extremely interesting.
Football fan or not, Tom Meets Zizou is a must see and will have one thinking and believing that finding a balance between the important aspects of life is possible.