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Pelota: The Beloved Pastime of Spain's Basque Country

Feb 03, 2015 | 831 videos
Video by Jungles in Paris

Filmmaker Emily Lobsenz dives into the world of pelota, or handball, a wildly popular Basque sport that traces its origins to the Middle Ages. To play, athletes smack a small hard ball against a wall; picture squash without the racket. "The ball is pretty hard, so we tape our hands," says one player. "Even with the tape, it hurts your hands a bit. Pelota is a tough sport, so you just need to be strong." 

This short was made from footage shot for Song of the Basques, a feature-length documentary by Emily Lobsenz. To learn more, visit

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Author: Chris Heller

About This Series

A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.