Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece
Films: Liverpool, Without Shame, Like you Know it All, The Lost Monument
Argentina: Liverpool (2008, Lisandro Alonso)
Simple. Poetic. Liberating. Lisandro Alonso’s film is as beautiful and fluid as watching a perfect Messi goal.
Liverpool starts with a lonely man, Farrel, leaving a ship’s confined space and heading off into a vast open land. The purpose of Farrel’s journey is to seek closure by seeking out his past. The audience also makes this journey along with Farrel because Alonso’s flexible camera film allows one to breathe in the environment and take in all the sights and sounds.
This breath-taking film is easily a front runner for winning the movie world cup!
Nigeria: Without Shame (2005, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen)
It was only appropriate to dig up a Nollywood title to represent Nigeria. In order to narrow down the search, I started off with the insightful Canadian documentary Nollywood Babylon. The documentary focuses on the films and methods of Lancelot, a film-maker with over 150 films to his name. I decided to pick a film at random from his collection and ended up with Without Shame.
Steve rebels against his father's (Ben) second wife Jenny and refuses to accept her as a mother. Steve's flirting activities bring him in conflict with Jenny leading her to leave the house. After Jenny’s departure, her sister, Nina, comes for a visit but wants to leave when she finds out that Jenny is no longer at the house. However, Ben calmly and causally asks Nina to stay because he does not have anyone to cook and clean the house. And to make things worse for Nina, both father and son rape her every night. When Jenny returns, Nina is too ashamed to admit anything and continues living in the household. The film ends with both father and son escaping from getting caught with their pants down. However, Ben and Steve learn about each other's sexual relationship with Nina. Without Shame 2 offers another complicated twist in the form of a second affair for Ben leading to three pregnancies before everything is resolved albeit in deadly fashion.
Without Shame is a soap opera packaged in two parts and serves as an example of the appeal that some Nollywood films have in their portrayal of familial issues and relationships.
South Korea: Like you Know it All (2009, Hong sang-soo)
Film Festival, movie directors, programmers, festival jury, alcohol, artists, food, love, lust, jealousy and rape. Sounds like an average film festival? or Hong sang-soo’s version of a film festival?
A film director's trip to a festival to be part of the jury leads into an unexpected diversion towards a long lost love surrounded by pit falls of affairs and alcohol fueled talk of art, inspiration and fame. Similar to Hong sang-soo’s Woman is the Future of Man, the conversations in Like you know it all are fluid and the words flow almost effortlessly. Ofcourse, it is alcohol and food that serves as a lubricant for ensuring that the characters loosen up and speak their mind and express their feelings, thereby moving the film through a series of sexual conquests obtained either by mutual consent or force.
A true delight of a film.
Greece: The Lost Monument (2009, Stefanos Tsivopoulos)
The only short film in the movie world cup but the film's beauty and simplicity makes every second count of the 27 minute running time.
A discovered statue of Harry Truman makes an extraordinary journey across Greece and Turkey, via land and water. Each person who discovers the statue has their own take on the identity of statue and its meaning. And through each leg of its journey, the lifeless construction presents a political angle no matter where it goes.
The most beautiful sequence takes place after the statue is pulled out from the ocean and the tired men gaze at it.
Additional Info: Film description and director’s notes.
Group Standings with a maximum of 9 points at stake
Liverpool (Argentina): 9
The Lost Monument (Greece): 8
Like you Know it All (Korea): 8
Without Shame (Nigeria): 4
Liverpool is a clear winner with the Greek short film edging out the Korean film by a narrow head-to-head count.
Note: Point Rules and criteria.
Soccer Group predictions
It will be interesting to see how Group B in the World Cup will compare with the movie world cup standings. Argentina should be a clear group winner despite any mistaken decisions that Maradona will make. After Argentina, it is a toss up to see which one of the other three will advance to the second round. The Greek team will be organized defensively but they may find goals hard to come by while Korea and Nigeria are not as strong as past tournaments. If I have to go for a 2nd place team, I will go with Greece.