|The Rugby Player tells the incredible and devastating story of Mark Bingham, a gay rugby player who is believed to have been one of the passengers who bravely stormed the cockpit of United Flight 93 during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
With a wealth of home video and stories from Bingham’s mum, family and friends, his notable life story is told in this powerful documentary.
The Rugby Player offers an insight into the life of a man who always fought back, punctuated with adorable video of Bingham through the years and the hijinks he got up to with friends – and of course of him playing rugby.
Much of the film is centred on the stories of Bingham’s mum Alice Hoagland, an amazing, resilient woman whose sweetness, sense of humour and love for her late son are palpable. Since his death, and after the gay equivalent of the rugby world cup was named to honour her son, she has become an outspoken gay rights advocate, campaigner for action over the deficiencies 9/11 unveiled, plus something of a ‘godmother’ to the gay rugby community worldwide.
Mark Bingham with his mum Alice Hoagland The humour of Mark Bingham and those he loves shines through in The Rugby Player, but like anything touching on the absolute despair wrought by 9/11 it’s also incredibly sad. However the tragedy and horror of that day are powerful enough and the filmmaker, thankfully, does not attempt to over-dramatize it, letting the archival footage, the archival audio and the enduring impact on Bingham’s friends and family speak for itself.
The Rugby Player is funny, tragic and heart-warming and heart-breaking, all at once – it’s a fitting tribute to the multi-faceted man for which the Bingham Cup was named. Screens in Wellington on Wednesday 11 June, 8.25pm. Buy tickets here. Jacqui Stanford - 25th May 2014