By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 27, 2007 at 5:02 AM

"The Great Match" is a comedy by writers Gerardo Olivares and Chema Rodríguez -- directed by Olivares -- that follows three indigenous groups as they work hard to achieve the same goal: watching the 2002 World Cup final on television.

If you're a soccer fan, you'll rejoice at the penetration of the world's game into the most desolate desert, the deepest rain forest and the most remote parts of the globe.

If, on the other hand, you bemoan the globalization of culture, you might not love the premise of "The Great Match" too much. However, everyone is likely to find something to laugh at in this fun 90-minute flick.

In the mountains of Mongolia, a group of nomadic hunters -- mostly a single family with some hangers on -- has arranged its latest geographical shift to coincide with the final between Brazil and Germany. Since acquiring a TV while working in Russia, the family patriarch now leads the group on a route that follows the electrical pylons, so they can hook up the set.

In the barren desert of Niger, a group of men sets out on camel, with TV loaded, to head for "the tree" -- not a real tree but instead a metal replacement on the site where the only tree for miles stood before being knocked over by a truck -- which will serve as an antenna.

Along the way, they meet a "bus" headed in the opposite direction, hoping to reach its destination in time to watch the match. Instead, pressed for time, the groups unite to watch the match at the tree.

Meanwhile, in the Brazilian rainforest indigenous guys work to get their TV and generator -- gifts from the local mission aimed at stopping them stealing from the mission -- up and running in time to watch the game. One of them has even been wearing his Ronaldo jersey non-stop in anticipation.

All the stories are tied together by more than just the big game. In each case there is one unlucky guy who has to take one for the extremely resourceful team. There is the Amazonian who has to climb the tree and hold the antenna and the poor fellow left to watch the camels in the desert while the others go off to watch the game at the tree. In Mongolia, when a group of military police comes upon the family and wants to watch the game, one soldier is left outside to keep watch.

Interestingly, too, everyone roots for Brazil, except for the military commander in Mongolia and the self-important "prince" in the Niger desert, who insists that everyone watching roots for Germany or he'll take away his television set.

In the Amazon, the American priest at the mission isn't even watching the match. Instead, he's watching a baseball game. (Brew City spotters, note that the television announcer mentions that one of the teams is Milwaukee.)

The story is also universal in its boyishness. All the groups of men joke among themselves just like American sports fans gathered in Midwestern living rooms. Sport is their passion and their relationships are rife with sports talk, soft insults and jokes and gentle ribbing.

"The Great Match" is fun and rollicking, offering some great scenery along the way. We just have to hope that while these cultures have discovered the joys of football, they're not ready to ditch everything for a Big Mac.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.