Mario (Max Hubacher) is a gifted soccer player who is also a closeted homosexual. Originally part of a small rural area from Switzerland, he has ambitious dreams of being a successful competitor in his field and trains diligently every day to become recognized and get his big break. He has an important upcoming game where he hopes to be scouted by a major European team. However, his hard work is threatened when he meets Leon Saldo (Aaron Altaras), a fellow player from Hanover, Germany. The dark-haired young man is an exceptional striker and gets assigned to the under-twenty-one group. Moreover, they have to share the same apartment provided by the club.
The two spend more and more time together and eventually share a kiss, ready to turn their friendship into a romantic affair. However, after more consideration, Mario becomes evasive and apprehensive, well aware of the fact that this new relationship could endanger his career and reputation. The players decide to continue their rendezvous, but they make sure to keep them under the radar. They are only a couple indoors, where they can have privacy and none of their future aspirations are on the line. But it does not take long for rumors to start spreading, and Mario’s agent, Herr Gehrling (Andreas Matti), advises him to immediately put a stop to their relationship. The young Swiss player is torn between his professional dreams and his newfound love.
“Like in Ben A. Williams’ feature The Pass, in which Russell Tovey played a closeted soccer player over the span of 10 years, Gisler uses time as a key element to help unmask the true psychological toll and emotional damage that remaining closeted can inflict not only on the person who chooses to keep their sexuality a secret for the outside world but also for everyone around them.”
— The Hollywood Reporter
Did You Know?
Mario was made for viewers who love football, but also to raise awareness about forbidden gay love in the context of the world’s most popular sports. His entire project with Mario was to reach a non-LGBTQ audience and deliver a message of inclusiveness, while at the same time focusing on systemic, rather than individual homophobia. Gisler began working on the film nearly a decade ago, in 2010, and wrote the script as a football amateur. Max Hubacher, who plays one of the main characters, has received Switzerland’s Best Actor award for his performance. Review our Gay Themed Films Here
All pictures reproduced courtesy of Peccadillo Pictures