Thursday, June 14, 2012

Euro 2012: Game 1 results

Results of the first games of the group phase for the Euro 2012 Book & Film Spotlight. As per the rules:

The first match will see the two films compete against each other in five categories which will count as goals scored by a nation.

Five Categories: Acting, Story, Direction, Cinematography & Production values

a) If one film is superior to another film in a category, then the superior film will get one goal while the other film will get 0.
b) If both films match each other in a category, they will score one goal each.
c) If both films fail in a category, they will get 0 goals each.

Group A: Poland, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic

Poland (The Mill and the Cross) vs Greece (Alps)

The stellar technical aspects of The Mill and the Cross allow it to register a narrow win over Alps which features some memorable acting and a decent story.

Russia (Silent Souls) vs Czech Republic (Surviving Life)

The warm and tender Silent Souls easily wins over the humorous Surviving Life.

Group B: Holland, Denmark, Germany, Portugal

Holland (C'est déjà l'été) vs Denmark (Applause)

Both the Danish and Dutch entries echo films by master directors. Applause, powered by an incredible performance by Paprika Steen, takes a page out of John Cassavetes’s Opening Night while the Dutch entry C'est déjà l'été is clearly inspired by the Dardenne brothers. Overall, C'est déjà l'été is a much richer work that looks at a family’s downfall.

Germany (Storm) vs Portugal (Mysteries of Lisbon)

This was not really a contest. Mysteries of Lisbon easily wins although Storm has a relevant story that highlights why it is so difficult to convict war criminals.

Group C: Spain, Italy, Ireland, Croatia

Spain (The Last Circus) vs Italy (The Salt of Life)

The Last Circus has a strong political heart but unfortunately, the film goes off the rails and prefers to hammer its point home. On the other hand, The Salt of Life has an easy going style and is a joy from start to finish.

Ireland (The Guard) vs Croatia (Buick Riviera)

Even though The Guard features an excellent performance by Brendan Gleeson, it is still a run of the mill mismatched buddy-cop drama. While Buick Riviera is an engaging and well made film.

Group D: France, England, Ukraine, Sweden

France (L’Apollonide) vs England (Shame)

The only match-up to feature a 0-0 in a category because I felt neither film has an original story. L’Apollonide contains many characters & scenarios one expects from a film set in a brothel while Shame also follows a predictable arc in depicting its main character’s addiction and race to hit rock-bottom. However, L’Apollonide's nicely created mood makes for an engaging viewing in certain segments.

Ukraine (My Joy) vs Sweden (Play)

Play might have fared a bit better had it been drawn against another film. As it stands, Play provided little threat to My Joy.

Soccer vs Film

Here is a comparison of the soccer vs film results from the first round of match-ups.

Only Russia, Croatia and Ukraine won both the soccer and film matches while Russia registered 4 goals on both counts.

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