When Leon, a talented striker newly arrived from a soccer team in Germany, shows up in the locker room of his new Swiss club, he attracts both suspicion and admiration from his teammates, who marvel at his on-field play even if they resent his sudden status as the star forward. But he attracts something more in his assigned roommate Mario, and the pair develop an intense bond—not only as the team’s top prospects for advancing to an elite professional league, but also as clandestine lovers. For career-minded Mario, the secret affair stands to threaten everything that’s at stake in the tradition-bound and image-conscious world of professional sports: sponsorship deals, a long pro career, the approval of his nearby parents and manager, and his friendship with Jenny, the childhood pal who, up to now, has consented to play the part of his girlfriend in public. As the pressure builds for Mario to conform or to surrender to what he worries is an impossible love, he and those around him will have to decide by whose rules they will lead their lives.
Performed with natural charisma and chemistry by its attractive cast (particularly Max Hubacher as Mario, Aaron Altaras as Leon, and Jessy Moravec as Jenny), Mario is a compelling reminder of the emotional toll of the closet among athletes even today (see also this year’s documentary Alone in the Game), and the price that we are often asked to pay to be true to ourselves.
— PETER L. STEIN
- Language: In Swiss German with English subtitles. ASL interpreter present
- Premiere Status: Bay Area