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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March, 2003, 13:08 GMT
US première for Beckham film
The hit UK film Bend It Like Beckham was premièred in the United States on Monday as it tries to become the latest British film to find success across the Atlantic.

Bend It Like Beckham, one of the surprise hits of the summer in the UK, is hoping to follow films like The Full Monty and Billy Elliot into the hearts of US film fans.

The film is about a young Indian girl who is determined to play professional football, it is being marketed as a coming-of-age teen movie rather than a soccer film.

Executives considered changing its name because David Beckham, the Manchester United football star, is not well known in the US.

He is most famous for being married to Victoria Beckham, formerly Posh Spice in the Spice Girls.

But film company Fox Searchlight decided to keep the "quirky" title because a previously unknown English phrase worked for The Full Monty.

Award nominations

Leading US female soccer players have promoted the film, and girls' soccer teams have been given special screenings.

Both professional US leagues, Major League Soccer and the Women's United Soccer Association, have also held screenings for fans and youth players.

The film took almost £12m at UK box offices and was nominated for best British film at the Bafta Awards and best film at the European Film Awards.

It stars newcomer Parminder K Nagra, Keira Knightley and singer Shaznay Lewis, formerly of girl group All Saints.

Knightley is known for her role as Sabé in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, and has gone on to film The Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush.


US critics have given Bend It Like Beckham a warm reception.

It is "a terrific, savvy, fully felt British comedy", according to Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman.

Director Gurinder Chadha has said it has been regularly compared to My Big Fat Greek Wedding in the US, another independent film that became a mainstream success.

It is released at selected cinemas in the US and Canada on Wednesday.

Bend it Like Beckham scores highly
10 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Bend it Like Beckham: Your views
12 Apr 02  |  Entertainment
BBC nets Bend It Like Beckham
16 Jan 03  |  Entertainment
Football film spurs on Indian girls
17 Jan 03  |  South Asia
Beckham film shoots to number one
16 Apr 02  |  Entertainment
Beckham on bench for première
12 Apr 02  |  Entertainment

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