Is Dream’s Homeless World Cup a Real Event?

Park Seo-joon as Hong-dae in Dream
Credit: Netflix

Park Seo-joon as Hong-dae in Dream
Credit: Netflix

Now that Netflix has released the much-anticipated South Korean soccer movie, we can't help but ask if Dream's Homeless World Cup is a real tournament!

We'll also be talking about the movie and how it relates to real-life stories, especially the film's director, Lee Byeong-heon.

Is Dream’s Homeless World Cup a Real Tournament?

Homeless World Cup team players in Dream
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Credit: Netflix

Surprisingly, yes. The Homeless World Cup is a real football tournament. It started in July 2003 in Graz, Austria. And ever since then, the tournament has been held annually until the pandemic.

The organization behind the tournament was co-founded by Mel Young and Harald Schmied in 2001. It was their advocacy to include homeless individuals globally.

Ever since the tournament started, it has been held in various countries around the world. It was a particular tournament held in Brazil that inspired the director of Dream to create his next feature film.

Is Dream Based on a True Story?

Park Seo-joon as Hong-dae in Dream
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Credit: Netflix

Dream is a South Korean film created by Lee Byeong-heon after drawing inspiration from a TV documentary that followed a football team's journey as they played at the 2010 Homeless World Cup in Brazil.

Although the South Korean team placed last out of the 43 competing countries, there was a documentary about the team members that intrigued the Extreme Job director.

So is the movie based on a true story? Even though the film is based on the tournament, the story behind each character was written by Lee and co-screenwriter, Mohammed Abdullah, from various sources. They even conducted interviews with homeless individuals.

In an interview with the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) via SCMP, Lee said:

"Stories about homeless people always feel typical. You see them in TV dramas, you hear [about] them from people around you, or in the media. Without context, telling these stories in a film could seem forced. Because this is a commercial film, I tried to focus on how to make it entertaining."
Homeless World Cup player in Dream
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Credit: Netflix

Apart from highlighting the stories of the homeless, Dream also touches base on a sensitive topic. The film exposed the toxic practices of organizations and companies that take advantage of homeless players.

Apparently, there are sponsors who promise to help the team but quietly withdraw their pledges later on.

Lee addressed this by saying:

"I want to say my intent wasn't to criticize anyone outright. What we depicted in the film, that's actual reality. That's how people act. It's just a fact of life. I guess as a filmmaker I tried to introduce these stories as they were, and are. It's up to the viewers what to make of them."

What Is Dream K-Drama About?

IU as Lee So-min in Dream
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Credit: Netflix

Dream is a South Korean film that stars Park Seo-joon as Hong-dae, a professional footballer who faced a roadblock in his career after assaulting a journalist. To make up for his actions, he agrees to coach a football team of homeless players.

At first, Hong-dae is indifferent to helping the players. But as the days go on, he learns more about the lives of his players via a documentary being filmed. He starts becoming protective of his team.

The film also stars the following actors:

  • IU (as Lee So-min)
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  • Lee Hyun-woo (as Kim In-sun)
  • Kim Jong-soo (as Kim Hwan-dong)
  • Ko Chang-seok (as Jeon Hyo-bong)
  • Jung Seung-gil (as Son Beom-soo)
  • Yang Hyun-min (as Jeon Moon-soo)
  • Hong Wan-pyo (as Young-jin)
  • Heo Joon-seok (as Hwang In-kook)
  • Park Hyoung-soo (as CEO Kim)
  • Kim Ha-neul (as Park Sung-chan)
  • Park Myoung-hoon (as a reporter)

You can watch Dream on Netflix.

Keep an eye out for more K-drama content by following our dedicated Netflix Facebook Page!

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