Monday, January 13, 2014

South American Films

The 18 South American films of the 2014 Movie World Cup have been selected. The three films from the six nations follow the following criteria:

Film 1: previously seen film from 2005 - 2013
Film 2: unseen film from 2005 - 2013
Film 3: film from 1960 - 2004


Film 1: Neigboring Sounds (O Som ao Redor), 2012, Kleber Mendonça Filho
Film 2: Once Upon a Time Veronica (Era Uma Vez Eu, Verônica), 2012, Marcelo Gomes
Film 3: Entranced Earth (Terra em Transe), 1967, Glauber Rocha

As hosts of the 2014 World Cup, Brazil are expected to win the soccer tournament and anything other than first place would be seen as a failure. Keeping that in mind, I tried to pick three films that should give Brazil a very good chance to win the Movie World Cup title. Neigboring Sounds is an excellent film that finished #2 in my 2013 film list while Glauber Rocha's film should be a strong candidate. Marcelo Gomes' Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures was my favourite 2005 film, which is why I have high hopes for his 2012 film.


Film 1: Gone Fishing (Días de pesca), 2012, Carlos Sorin
Film 2: Extraordinary Stories (Historias extraordinarias), 2008, Mariano Llinás
Film 3: Invasion (Invasión), 1969, Hugo Santiago

Argentina won the 2010 Movie World Cup thanks to Lisandro Alonso's Liverpool. Alonso's 2008 film was certainly eligible to be picked as Film #1 but I opted for Carlos Sorin's film because it enhances the lonely man aspect from Alonso's film with a bit more emotional weight making it a worthy selection.

On paper, one of the strongest films in this competition could be Extraordinary Stories. It is a film that has received high praise in many quarters. I have to thank Allan Fish for his review that ensured this film stayed in my memory.

Completing a strong selection for Argentina is the stunning 1969 film Invasión. I had not heard of this film until recently but once I found out that this film was co-written by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares, then it was an automatic selection.


Film 1: Tony Manero, 2008, Pablo Larraín
Film 2: Old Cats (Gatos Viejos), 2010, Pedro Peirano/Sebastián Silva
Film 3: The Battle of Chile (La batalla de Chile), 1975-79, Patricio Guzmán

Tony Manero won the 2011 Copa America Book and Film Spotlight and was an automatic selection. It is certainly the best of Pablo Larraín's trilogy which includes Post Mortem and No.

Selecting Old Cats is a bit of a gamble as I know very little about this film but I wanted a Sebastián Silva film in this competition and this was easily available from his three recent films.

The Battle of Chile was also an easy selection. Currently, I plan to watch all three parts as part of this Movie World Cup but I may only use one part for the competition scoring.


Film 1: Crab Trap (El vuelco del cangrejo), 2009, Oscar Ruiz Navia
Film 2: Dog Eat Dog (Perro come perro), 2008, Carlos Moreno
Film 3: Oedipus Mayor (Oedipo alcalde), 1996, Jorge Alí Triana

Crab Trap is one of the best Colombian films I have seen in the last few years and it made my honorable mention list in 2010.


Film 1: Crónicas, 2004, Sebastián Cordero
Film 2: Qué tan lejos, 2006, Tania Hermida
Film 3: A Titan in the Ring (Un titán en el rincón), 2002, Viviana Cordero

There was a possibility that all three Ecuadorian films could have been from Sebastián Cordero. I have previously viewed Crónicas and Ratas, ratones, rateros while his last film Europa Report and 2009 feature Rage are readily available. However, Europa Report and Rage are foreign co-productions that are not from Ecuador which is why I opted for Qué tan lejos (How Much Further).


Film 1: A Useful Life (La vida útil), 2010, Federico Veiroj
Film 2: Bad Day to go Fishing (Mal día para pescar), 2009, Álvaro Brechner
Film 3: Whisky, 2004, Juan Pablo Rebella/Pablo Stoll

Whisky won the 2007 Copa America Film Spotlight and it is a film that has stayed in my memory for the last few years. I have not revisited this film since 2007 which is why I am excited about having this film compete in this spotlight.


On paper, Brazil and Argentina appear to have the strongest selection of films. This feels appropriate as Brazil won the 2006 Movie World Cup while Argentina took the 2010 Movie World Cup. A Movie World Cup final between these two nations would indeed be a dream contest. However, there are a few other nations which have a strong film line-up and might cause an upset. That being said, as a minimum, I expect one of Brazil or Argentina to reach the 2014 Movie World Cup final.