COPA 71 (TIFF 2023) – Review by Kat Sachs

The film opens with two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Brandi Chastain being handed an iPad. “That’s a massive stadium,” she says, observing the footage of a football match playing on screen. “It’s a men’s football match?” The realization dawns on her. “It’s women’s football. What? Okay, this is women’s football. What year was this?” A voice offscreen replies, “1971.” This approach ingeniously demonstrates not just the film’s premise, but the fact that even nowadays as we seek to rectify what’s been overlooked in the past, something so massive could still be unknown by so many. Through an effective merging of contextualization, rarely seen archival ephemera, and poignant interviews with those women who, for fifty years, had assumed their achievement was destined to be forgotten, Ramsay and Erskine have created a document as edifying as it is inspiring, one that will hopefully have more people asking, “What is Copa 71?”

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