Center Forward as Guru
Ken Loach's commercial success after Kes is a crowd –pleaser. Perhaps he is taking a break from social-realism through “Looking for Eric” (2009). The film is underdog drama of course, but it injects heavy doses of wisdom into the collective psyche of the society. At the surface, the movie appears as a Comic Fantasy. The truth is that “Looking for Eric” is a surrealist film.
We have the hero Eric Bishop (played by Steve Evets), a depressed middle-aged Post-man, twice-divorced and past one suicide attempt. His job at the post-office is increasingly become unfulfilling and most of the postal articles remain unattended in his personal cupboard. Luckily , his mates at the office with weird pet names such as Meatballs, Spleen etc. are quite supportive. According to them, Laughter is the best medicine and they live up to the motto to keep Eric Bishop in tremendous high spirits.
Living with two stoned stepsons of the second marriage, Eric cannot summon enough courage to reconnect with his first wife, Lily, whom he actually loves. They are divorced for thirty years. To make matters worse, his stepsons have little respect towards Eric as they are drifting into crime and indolence. The under-world have a major influence on them. One night Eric makes a joint out of the grass kept at his sons’ room and has a vision of Eric Cantona, the legendary and iconic footballer of Manchester United. It now becomes a film about football in a philosophical set-up. Please note that after retirement in 1997, Eric Cantona turned to painting, trumpet and philosophy! The film also shows footage of some of Cantona’s finest goals.
“When was the last time I was happy?” Eric Bishop asks, gazing up at a poster of Eric Cantona in his bedroom.
“One can never attain perfection”, Cantona says. He pops up from the picture to give life-lessons to the depressed man. Cantona appears to Bishop every night and follows him even on his postal rounds. King Eric becomes a Life-Coach and Guru. The Postman uses his hero as an inspiration to find himself.
What do you do when you are down and out?
King Eric takes out a trumpet as if from nowhere and plays La Marseillaiseas…..
In fact, he was suspended from the game for a brief period when he delivered a kung-fu kick to a football fan who cheered when Cantona was shown the red-card.
Obviously, Eric Cantona learnt a lot from life and has become a wise man at peace with himself.
You have to trust your teammates. Always. Otherwise, you are lost.
Eric Bishop is not a depressed man anymore. He is re-charged by a live wire.
He handles his misguided stepsons right and they are forced to see reason eventually. What’s more, he has a brush with the inner-city gunrunners , teaching them a couple of lessons in humility.
The feel-good factor is showing. No wonder the movie has become a commercial hit!
By now, Eric Cantona has already cast a spell.
My proudest moment is actually an impossibly daring pass allowing my co-player (Dennis Irwine) to score.
Just play the Game.
As selflessly as you can.
Needless to say, Eric Bishop re-unites with his first wife Lily in the end.