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DVD recommendations for Xmas

Nothing relieves holiday stress like watching video footage of Pelé dancing around the field. But if soccer isn't your thing, our film editor Änne Troester offers up more DVD choices for a break from winter.

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Travelling at Christmas time means trains stuffed to their luggage racks and noisy, annoying people. There’s only one escape – a laptop, a pair of in-ears and a good DVD. Once in a Lifetime – The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (Atlas Film, available from Dec 3) with its opening statements by American journalists about why soccer is less popular in the States than football, baseball and basketball shows that the problem might not be the sport, but the sports writing (which just may be true, it’s not everyone that has a sports editor like EXBERLINER has – check out Jacob Sweetman’s blog if you don’t believe us). If you find that debate uninteresting, watch the film for historical footage about the rise of a team that began as a bunch of players from New York’s amateur leagues and was able to hire people like Franz Beckenbauer and Pelé only a few years later. Still, if you want to know about the true power of soccer (other than Warner media money), turn to last year’s Looking for Eric (Euro Video, on sale starting Dec 9). Ken Loach’s wonderfully warm-hearted drama follows a soccer fan whose life is a shambles until he begins to have imagined conversations with his great hero, Eric Cantona, whose mystical statements were legend when he was still playing and become a source of solace for the struggling fan. If soccer is not your thing, we forgive you and recommend Splice: this is what happens when you don’t believe in Santa – you get crazy ideas like making people from scratch (directed by Vincenzo Natali, with Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley; on sale starting Dec 3, Universum).