Thursday, July 28, 2011

Copa America 2011

Copa American 2011 Book & Film Spotlight results

On Sunday, July 24 2011 Uruguay won their 15th Copa America title with a 3-0 win over Paraguay. Also on sunday, I finally finished reading the last remaining book from my Copa America 2011 Book & Film Festival. All the individual country posts are up so now it is time to reveal the winning entries. But a quick listing of all the titles that were read and seen:

Country: Book, Film, [Bonus Film]

Argentina: Hopscotch, Crane World, Lion's Den
Bolivia: Aurora, Cocalero
Brazil: Zero, Black God White Devil
Chile: The Secret Holy War of Santiago De Chile, Tony Manero
Colombia: The Armies, Crab Trap, The Wind Journeys
Costa Rica: Cocori, Cold Water of the Sea
Ecuador: The Ecuador Reader, Cronicas, Ratas, ratones, rateros
Japan: Kafka on the Shore, Tokyo Sonata
Mexico: The Underdogs, Duck Season
Paraguay: I, The Supreme, Noche Adentro, I Hear Your Scream
Peru: Conversations in the Cathedral, Milk of Sorrow, Madeinusa
Uruguay: Body Snatcher, A Useful Life
Venezuela: Chronicles of a Nomad, El Don, Araya

Top three books

3) Chile: The Secret Holy War of Santiago De Chile by Marco Antonio de la Parra

Tito Livio has no idea how bad his day is going to get. He finds out that his father was a double agent for both God and the Devil, La Maga and Devil’s agents are after him and the fate of the World rests on his shoulders. A fun book that moves at a rapid pace and manages to pack in plenty of intelligent ideas, fascinating characters and even a political layer.

2) Peru: Conversations in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa

Past and Present beautifully flow together throughout the book, which jumps decades in a span of a few sentences. A few beers opens up a can of memories which still hurt and haunt the two main characters.

1) Brazil: Zero by Ignácio de Loyola Brandão

Incredibly creative and brilliantly paced account of life under a brutal military regime. The short segment chapters work like jump-cut scenes in a film by keeping the rhythm and tension moving along.

Top three films

3) Argentina: Crane World (1999, Pablo Trapero)

A touching portrayal of a man trying very hard to make ends meet. The grainy black and white along with the use of non-professional actors adds to the realism.

2) Uruguay: A Useful Life (2010, Federico Veiroj)

A beautiful tribute to cinephilia. A pure delight.

1) Chile: Tony Manero (2008, Pablo Larraín)

An incredible portrayal of a man’s transformation into a serial killer under the nose of a brutal dictatorial regime. Raúl Peralta (played wonderfully by Alfredo Castro) is certainly one of the most memorable characters to have been portrayed on screen in the last decade.

Books vs Films

Only Chile managed to overlap in both the top three book and film entries. Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay all managed single mentions.

Books vs Films vs Soccer

The top three teams in the Copa America soccer tournament were:

1) Uruguay
2) Paraguay
3) Peru

So stacking this with the top 3 books and film entries produces three countries with two mentions each:

Chile: 1st place film, 3rd place book
Uruguay: 1st place Soccer, 2nd place film
Peru: 2nd place book, 3rd place soccer

Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay round off with a single nod each. The most incredible thing is that both Brazil and Argentina failed to make the top 3 in Copa America, something that was unimaginable a month ago when both were expected to make the final of the tournament.

Final comments

This was a much more time consuming and draining spotlight than I had originally expected. A dozen entries would have made a film only spotlight quite easy, like the Copa America 2007 spotlight. So I added books to add a bit more challenge but I did not select books based on length or style. In the end, a handful of books required a good deal of investment because of the complex and imaginative writing style. Overall, reading all the books was a great experience and it proved that even the most difficult cinema does not come close to providing as many hurdles as a complex book.


Sam Juliano said...

This is amazing Sachin in that Chile has done so well, and that there are more than a few works worth keeping an eye out for. Of course we can never be sure what will ultimately surface, but we sure can compile our own lists. We has a review of the author Llosa at our site a few months back, and as I stated in a previous comment I'm a big fan of TOKYO SONATA. I did see LION'S DEN a while back and was reasonably impressed.

Sachin said...

Yeah that surprized me too Sam. I had seen Tony Manero a lot earlier than the other films in this spotlight and I had loved it instantly. But back then I would not have expected that would have been my fav because I had more expectations from some of the other films.

Thanks for your comment and for mentioning a Llosa review on your website. I missed that completely and will check it out.