Saturday, July 07, 2007

Copa America Film Festival, Quarter-Final results

The 5 areas where the films are scored at:

Acting, Story, Direction, Cinematography and Production Values

Quarter Final 1: Uruguay (Whisky) vs Colombia (Los niños invisibles)

This is not really a fair contest. Even though Los niños invisibles is a good coming of age film, it really is no match up for the polished dead-pan comedy Whisky.

Final Score: Uruguay 5 -0 Colombia

Quarter Final 2: Mexico (El compadre Mendoza) vs Bolivia (Dependencia sexual)

In terms of acting, both films are very good, so they score 1 point each. Even though the story of the Mexican film is simpler and linear than the multiple plots in the Bolivian film, I have to give the edge to the Mexican film for having a better story.

The direction of the Mexican film is slightly superior but the fancy cinematography & good usage of sync sound earn full points for Dependencia sexual.

Total points for El compadre Mendoza: 3 (Acting, Story & Direction)
Total points for Dependencia sexual: 3 (Acting, Cinematography & Production Values)

So the only way a 3-3 tie can be broken is by a penalty-shootout, which involves a subjective vote on my part. At the end of the day, I have to give the win to the Mexican film as its story of friendship, politics and betrayal is more naturally developed and has an easier flow to it.

Final Score: Mexico wins on penalties after 3-3 tie

Quarter Final 3: Brazil (The Man Who Copied) vs Argentina (The Official Story)

This is a tough comparison. The Man Who Copied has a lighter and more commercial feel to it than the emotionally powerful The Official Story which is made not to entertain people but to raise awareness and even to heal certain wounds in Argentina's dark history. Here goes the comparison:

Total points for Brazil: 2 (Cinematography, Production Values)
Total points for Argentina: 3 (Acting, Story, Direction)

Final score: The Argentinian film wins the contest 3-2.

I have to admit that despite all its flaws The Man Who Copied is an enjoyable film but The Official Story has more substance to it.

Quarter Final 4: USA (North by Northwest) vs Peru (Días de Santiago)

Am I committing a crime here by daring to compare a classic film from Hitchcock against an entry from a Peruvian director only making his third film? Not really. Because in soccer, the mighty and powerful teams have to play the little minnows to advance in tournaments. Similarly, such uneven match-ups have to take place in this film tournament as well.

Total Points for North by Northwest: 5 (superior on all counts)
Total points for Days of Santiago : 2 (Acting, Cinematography)

Final score: USA 5-2 Peru

The acting is top-notch in the Peruvian film along with good blend of black & white + coloured visuals. I especially liked the fact that black and white was used to depict the main character's inner thoughts with colour used to show the reality around him. But despite having a good story, one can make a point that such a story has been done before. In fact, the character of Santiago is a poorer cousin of Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver). And the fact that both characters drive a taxi also helps provide an extra resemblance.

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