Garpastum is a 2005 Russian historical drama film written and directed by Aleksei German Jr. It was entered into the main competition at the 62nd edition of the Venice Film Festival.
The film begins in 1914 on the eve of the outbreak of World War I set during Gavrilo Princip's departure before the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.
Garpastum is a Latin word meaning ball game. Set in 1914 in St. Petersburg, the brothers Andrey and Nikolai are passionate about the matches they play on the streets. They hatch a scheme to buy a playing field. But World War I has already begun and soon their lives and dreams will be shattered.
Two brothers, before and in a World War, before and in a Revolution. Both play football to win small amounts of money, both dream of the game, brought to Russia by Englishmen. One of the brothers leaves to fight the Kaiser, the other stays behind in the pre-war intellectual circles of St. Petersburg. Their love of the game makes them - and their friends - fight for survival.
Garpastum is a grim and violent film about Russia in the first World War and the Revolution - and what it did to the people of Russia. During certain scenes I just had to close my eves because they were to violent for me. Yet, apart form all that, the film shows that even in the darkest hours, there's a sparkle of hope and survival for the brothers and their love for the game.