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The Go Guide Places, people and life with Ben Crandell

Forget World Cup, here's a winning goal: 'En El Séptimo Dia'

As World Cup soccer continues its once-every-four-years domination of popular conversation, it’s also a good time for a compelling reminder of the integral role the game plays in many cultures all the time.

Opening July 6 in several South Florida theaters, “En El Séptimo Dia” (“On the Seventh Day”) is an American story, at once centuries old and vividly timely, as it follows the daily immigrant experience, in this case bicycle delivery guys, construction workers and dishwashers who work for the reward of a Sunday spent on the soccer fields of a Brooklyn park.

The story, from film and TV director Jim McKay (“The Wire,” “Big Love,” “Law & Order,” “The Good Wife”), turns as team captain José is told he must work on the day his team is playing in the final round of a big tournament.

When the film, which includes R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe among its producers, made the rounds at festivals in 2017, the reviews were astonishing. In Variety, Owen Gleiberman described its “bone-deep humanity that transcends technique and reaches right back to Cassavetes.” In a review for IndieWire, Eric Kohn wrote that the film “combines a simple premise with profound concerns… It harkens back to classic neorealist traditions by providing a window into the everyday challenges of a lower-class existence all too often ignored in mainstream cinema. At the same time, it positions the drama as a feel-good crowdpleaser, a rousing sports movie about characters trapped by their surroundings and galvanized by their communal spirit.”

“En El Séptimo Dia” (in Spanish, with subtitles) screens Friday-July 12 at Cinema Paradiso in Hollywood and Savor Cinema in Fort Lauderdale (visit FLIFF.com), and at the Stonzek Theatre in the Lake Worth Playhouse (LakeWorthPlayhouse.org). It also is scheduled to be shown July 13-19 at the Tower Theater in Miami (TowerTheaterMiami.com) and July 13-26 at the Miami Beach Cinematheque (MBCinema.com).

bcrandell@sun-sentinel.com

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