Friday, June 04, 2010

2010 Movie World Cup, Group F

Group F: Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

Films: Il Divo, Paraguayan Hammock, Black Sheep, Orbis Pictus

Italy: Il Divo (2008, Paolo Sorrentino)

This glossy political film based on real life prime minister Giulio Andreotti has some interesting moments in its depiction of corruption and abuse of power. While the film does a decent job in showing how easily truth and justice can be extinguished in a democratic system, it is still tame and disappointing. The dramatic introduction of some characters does not mesh with the film's overall low key tone and as a result, the film does not have a consistent feel.

In a way, Il Divo is an appropriate choice for the movie world cup as the Italian soccer team disappoints more often than lives up to its potential. Even though Italy won the 2006 World Cup, it should have won the 1990 and 1994 tournaments but failed to play to its potential. Italy should have done a lot better in 2002 but fumbled out due to their own mistakes; the ref incorrectly sent Totti off but Vieri should not have missed an open net and Italy should have stayed with 3 attackers in the second half against South Korea. Also, it can't be forgotten that Italy were a mere 30 seconds away from winning Euro 2000 but eventually lost out to France. So like the Italian soccer team, Il Divo promised plenty, offered some nice moments, but failed to deliver a winning end product.

Note: linking political leaders to mafia and murder may not be seen too much in North American films but it is a common topic in most Bollywood political films. Even average Bollywood films do a good job in depicting the ruthless nature of politics and showing how easily rules can be twisted in a democracy. Some of the better political movies such as Gulzar's Hu Tu Tu, Satta, Shool, Haasil and Gulaal provided me with more viewing pleasure than Il Divo.

Paraguay: Paraguayan Hammock (2006, Paz Encina)

Paz Encina's meditative film evokes sentiments of Beckett's Waiting for Godot. An elderly couple sits around in a hammock, talking and waiting for their son to return from the war. The two do fear that their son will not come back and later on in the film, the father does indeed learn that the war has been over but his son has failed to return. But the two still wait not for happiness in the form of their son but instead for death which can be seen hovering in each frame amid the silence. Their time is passed away by simple activities and talk of rain, which also threatens to occur at any moment.

Simple. Haunting. Poetic.

Note: It took me almost 3 years to track this film down but the wait was worth it.

New Zealand: Black Sheep (2006, Jonathan King)

Beware the killer Sheep! Beware even more of the killer sheep that can drive!

Given the number of jokes that circulate about kiwi's and sheep, a horror treatment was long overdue to bring in some balance. The real experiments of cloning sheep are used as a germ of an idea in Black Sheep to create a dangerous killer sheep. The film ultimately comes off as a B grade horror movie with unexpected laughs in scenes of serious biting and blood letting. Though there are a few well done moments such as the following scene in which the top of the frame is packed with sheep rushing to attack the unsuspecting humans.

Slovakia: Orbis Pictus (1997, Martin Sulík)

A young girl's, Terezka, journey across the land to track down her mother leads to unexpected meetings and adventures. Terezka gets plenty of help and advice along the way but also has to guard against some lustful eyes. Her journey, aided by a map, leads her to the poetic end of the world. The film does a good job of keeping out darkness by incorporating a playful and innocent tone througout.

Standings and Points (maximum 9)

Paraguayan Hammock: 8
Il Divo: 6
Orbis Pictus: 6
Black Sheep: 4

Il Divo narrowly takes 2nd spot over Orbis Pictus.

Soccer Group predictions

Starting with Italia 1990, Italy has failed at the World Cup everytime I expected them to do well. But when I had no expectations in 2006, they ended up winning. So will something change this time around? Yes. I do not expect Italy to achieve anything and I am sure they will comply. It is hard to see this Italian team make it to the semi's but they have enough talent to win their group and advance to the next round.

2nd spot will come down to Paraguay vs Slovakia with New Zealand finishing comfortably in 4th. For now, I am going to pick Paraguay to advance even though my instinct tells me Slovakia will go through.

No comments: