Thursday, June 29, 2006

1st Movie World Cup – Quarter-Final Results!

8 more matches to go before the winner is decided! There were some very interesting match-ups in the movie world cup quarters and one match was identical to the soccer world cup quarter-final – Germany vs Argentina. Overall, only 3 teams were identical in the movie and soccer world cup quarter-finals: Germany, Argentina and Brazil.

Quarter-Final #1 – Germany vs Argentina

German movie: Werner Herzog’s Signs of Life
Argentina – Director Héctor Olivera’s A Shadow you soon will be

This match-up happened too early in both movie and soccer world cup; this would have been a fitting finale. The truth is that I really like the Argentine movie – it was the only film from the 22 entries that I loved from the first frame. But I can’t be completely subjective with a movie unless I take the contest to penalties. On the other hand, it took me a while to warm up to the German movie but there were 2 sequences which really endeared the movie to me (one was a long shot which showed Stroszek going crazy and threatening the villagers but we don’t see a close-up of him; we only see what the villagers see from a distance so we are forced to judge for ourselves what is going on with him. The second shot was the final shot when the camera is on the back of the truck and we only see the dust blown by the speeding truck as the narrator tells of what happened with Stroszek). Nothing complicated about these shots but they were examples which showed Herzog knew exactly what he wanted to achieve with each frame. Also, I kept comparing Signs of Life to Grizzly Man -- the latter was a documentary but the former was a scripted movie which felt like a documentary. Brilliant!! Now, Olivera was in command of his material as well but compared to Herzog, his movie fell just a little short. So a very tough decision, but the German movie moves on.

Final score: Germany 5 – 3 Argentina

Goal scorers, Germany: Story, Acting, Direction, Cinematography, Sound
Goal scorers, Argentina: Story, Acting, Direction

Quarter-Final #2 – Poland vs Holland

Poland: Andrzej Wajda’s Kanal
Holland - Director Paul Verhoeven’s Turkish Delight

This one was not even close. The pacy Dutch movie was all over the Polish entry and easily cruised into the semi-finals.

Final score: Poland 1 – 4 Holland

Goal scorers, Poland: Cinematography
Goal scorers, Holland: Story, Acting, Direction, Cinematography

Quarter-Final #3 – Japan vs Korea

Japan – Director Masaki Kobayashi’s Kwaidan
South Korea - Director Chan-wook Park's Lady Vengeance

Battle Royale, indeed! The two co-hosts from the 2002 World Cup and past rivals pitted against each other. A very close encounter but Korea did enough to reach the semi’s.

Final score: Japan 4 – 5 Korea

Goal scorers, Poland: Story, Direction, Cinematography, Sound
Goal scorers, Holland: Story, Acting, Direction, Cinematography, Sound

Quarter-Final #4 – Brazil vs Spain

Brazil - Director Vicente Amorim's The Middle of the World
Spain -- Director Achero Mañas's El Bola

I have to go against the verdict of the film festival circuit and give the win to Brazil, even though the Spanish movie has won far more film festival awards -- El Bola has won 17 awards and gotten 9 nominations where the Brazilian film has only gotten 3 nominations. Yes the acting in the Spanish entry is more powerful but the story-line of In the Middle of the World was a bit more interesting.

Final score: Brazil 4 – 2 Spain

Goal scorers, Brazil: Story, Direction, Cinematography, Sound
Goal scorers, Spain: Acting, Direction

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