Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism
Robin is an ex-convict who found his passion running an amateur soccer club in Vienna. His team is very diverse, mostly made up of migrants from various countries. Bringing them together isn’t always easy and in addition to the usual difficulties of forming a team of rather unruly men, Robin and his team are confronted over and over again with racism in many ways during their games.
Robin’s Hood is not so much a movie about soccer (which is a good thing for me), but about racism and the question of whether it is possible to keep a team together under these circumstances – that is, under constant attack.
Baumgartner followed Robin and his team for seven years, trying to capture their development. What she mostly caught was all the racist abuse they encountered – from slurs hurled from the stands to police controls that just happen to happen to the Black players. Robin also tries to have a discussion with a racist in a bar who talks about all the problems with refugees (that Robin’s argumentation here is not really refined has to be overlooked though).
Robin sees himself as a father figure for the players and his heart is in the right place, but he has very limited resources to support them. Since he is not able to pay anyone, players keep having to quit the team. And sometimes they are not happy with his decisions – like when he finds a new trainer for them.
Robin tries, though, and even manages to organize a training camp for everybody – a week that is supposed to be all about hardcore training sessions, but to Robin’s frustration turns more into a week of partying.
Robin’s Hood paints a picture of the frustrating Sisyphus-like work that running a soccer club like this entails, a club that tries (though often fails) to offer a good space for its players who come from marginalized backgrounds all around. Robin, with no social work training and less support for himself, is bound to fail in his endeavour. And yet there is positive note here, a moment of “despite everything, we have to try”. And we do.