Sunday, August 03, 2014

2014 Movie World Cup: Top 8

The elimination round of the 2014 Movie World Cup starts with the round of 16. As per the rules, the two films will go head-to-head in either five or three categories.

1. If both films are fiction, then the following five categories will be used:

Acting, Story, Cinematography, Direction, Production (Sound, Editing)

2. If a Documentary is put against a Fictional film, then the following three categories will be used for both films:

Cinematography, Direction, Production (Sound, Editing)

If one film is considered superior than the other film in a category, it will get 1 point while the other film gets 0. If both films are strong in a category and can’t be separated, both will get 1 point each.

After all the categories are added up, if both films are tied, then a penalty shoot-out will be applied, which in this case is a subjective vote towards the film with the biggest emotional impact.

Brazil (Neighboring Sounds) 4-2 Australia (Snowtown)

Two intense films faced each other but in the end, the Brazilian film prevails due to its superior sound design and story. Snowtown features some chilling performances and takes the Acting category. Also, the cinematography of the Brazilian and Australian films helps set a fearful and chilly mood respectively and a tie is awarded in that category.

Country: Film Acting Story Cinematography Direction Production Score
Brazil: Neighboring Sounds 011114
Australia: Snowtown 101002

Japan (When a Woman Ascends the Stairs) 5-3 Uruguay (A Useful Life)

Two films separated by more than five decades yet both shot in black and white. In fact, the Uruguayan film indirectly evokes the French New Wave and cinephilia, traits made famous in the Japanese film's decade. The final score may seem close but the Japanese film was in control from the start and easily cruised to a deserved win.

Country: Film Acting Story Cinematography Direction Production Score
Japan: When a Woman Ascends the Stairs 111115
Uruguay: A Useful Life 011013

France (L’Argent) 5-3 Iran (Taste of Cherry)

The ultimate match of this round, a tussle between two giants of cinema. Both films are timeless in the subjects they explore and can always be looked upon as contemporary no matter which decade someone decides to view them. Robert Bresson’s last feature is a remarkable work that abstracts the consequences of illegal trading of money. The film shows a specific story but in reality, it could be applied to multiple scenarios including the 2008 Economic crisis. In the film, those who trade in fake money get away while an innocent person pays the consequences by losing his job. Without a job, he is forced into a life of crime to survive. In a short running time of 85 minutes, Bresson has shown the problems of society with considerable ease.

Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry is another crucial work that reflects on the most essential question about human life, whether it is worth living. The film is an expansion of Albert Camus’ query in The Myth of Sisyphus, an essay which begins with the following lines:

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.

Taste of Cherry is an art film that examines this very philosophical question that Camus talked about. It is a brilliant work that is worthy of a place in the 2014 Movie World Cup final but it comes up slightly short against Bresson’s masterpiece.

Country: Film Acting Story Cinematography Direction Production Score
France: L'Argent 111115
Iran: Taste of Cherry 100113

Portugal (The Strange Case of Angelica) 4-3 South Korea (The Day He Arrives)

The liveliest encounter of this round as both films delighted with their lightness even though they covered many serious topics. The Portuguese film narrowly won due to the wonderful touch of master Manoel de Oliveira who is in control of every frame, from start to finish.

Country: Film Acting Story Cinematography Direction Production Score
Portugal: The Strange Case of Angelica 011114
South Korea: The Day He Arrives 101013

Mexico (El Violin) 5-3 Chile (Tony Manero)

Revolution and Dictatorship are two aspects associated with Latin American history and appropriately the two Latin films in this match tackle these subjects head-on. The Mexican film is about a revolution in an unnamed country but it could easily be set in any Latin American nation where the military exert their authority over farmers and people living in rural areas. The dictatorship is the backdrop of Tony Manero but the film focuses on an individual who selfishly pursues his goal in ruthless ways. The Chilean film highlights in an atmosphere where people can’t trust one another, a sense of community does not exist and individuals can get away with murder because they have no attachment with anyone around them.

Country: Film Acting Story Cinematography Direction Production Score
Mexico: El Violin 111115
Chile: Tony Manero 101013

As worthy are both films are, the Mexican film prevails because of its rich story which depicts how a revolution impacts three generations.

Italy (Il Posto) 5-1 Ivory Coast (Burn it up Djassa)

The Italian film is strong from start to finish in this uneven match-up but the Ivorian film manages a consolation in the cinematography category as it makes good use of handheld cameras to give a verite feel for life in the streets of Abidjan.

Country: Film Acting Story Cinematography Direction Production Score
Italy: Il Posto 111115
Ivory Coast:Burn it up Djassa 001001

Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) 3-1 Switzerland (Signer’s Suitcase)

The Swiss film is the only documentary in the round of 16 and as a result, only three categories were used to pick a winner. Unlike the World Cup soccer match between these two nations, the Swiss film could not hold back the powerful Argentine entry. The Swiss doc features a creative mix of visual images spliced with music, which results in a deserved point.

Country: Film Cinematography Direction Production Score
Argentina: Extraordinary Stories 1113
Switzerland:Signer's Suitcase 0011

Belgium (La Promesse) 4-2 Germany (World on a Wire)

The realism of the Dardenne brother’s film allows it to overcome Fassbinder’s creative sci-fi World on a Wire, a remarkable 1973 TV series which helped lay out the entire framework for The Matrix.

Country: Film Acting Story Cinematography Direction Production Score
Belgium: La Promesse 101114
Germany:World on a Wire 011002


The top 8 films of the 2014 Movie World Cup still leaves the possibility of either an all South American (Brazil vs Argentina) or European (France vs Italy) final.

Brazil (Neigboring Sounds) vs Japan (When a Woman Ascends the Stairs)
France (L’Argent) vs Portugal (The Strange Case of Angelica)

Mexico (El Violin) vs Italy (Il Posto)
Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) vs Belgium (La Promesse)

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