New York (AFP)

This is not the first documentary on the Brazilian football legend, but by its privileged access to the star, the quality of its speakers but also to the audience of Netflix, the film "Pelé", available on the platform from Tuesday, will undoubtedly be the most noticed.

Director Kevin Macdonald, Oscar winner for another documentary, "A Day in September", about the 1972 Olympic hostage-taking, is executive producer of this feature film, which runs from 1958 to 1970.

Between these two dates, that of the first planetary coronation at 17 and the last triumph at the Mexican World Cup, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, his birth name, has become the idol of a country and has forever marked his sport.

The abundant archive images will be the opportunity for a good part of the public to discover or rediscover the genius footballer that was Pelé, capable of changing the course of a match with a touch of the ball.

But the film crew also took advantage of the participation, rare, of the former number 10 himself in the project to probe the man, who gives himself little, and appears physically diminished.

The immense pressure, the frustrations, the joys, the marital infidelities, the hidden children, Pelé gives a little to see behind the scenes, even talking about his relationship with the Brazilian dictatorship.

More than half a century later, some still reproach him for his silence, even his docility towards the power of the military, who came into business in 1964, and remained there until 1985.

"I don't think I could have done anything different," says the man still known as King Pelé today.

"I was not Superman. I did not work miracles".

The film recalls that the government of General Emilio Garrastazu Medici notably pushed him to participate in the 1970 World Cup when he was unable to do so, scalded by an injury during each of the two previous editions.

This 1970 World Cup in Mexico, which closes the film, shows Pelé without certainties, far from the confident character with the unfailing smile, flying over existence.

His coronation will be that of a fragile man, who will make his team triumph in a supporting role, "the most beautiful moment of (his) life".

© 2021 AFP