Friday, May 30, 2014

2014 Movie World Cup

32 Nations. 96 films. One epic movie showdown. Ladies and gents, presenting the 2014 Movie World Cup.

In the past, finding even a single film nation for the 2006 and 2010 Movie World Cup spotlights proved to be a challenge given the lack of film distribution from many competing soccer nations. Therefore, it was a tall order finding three films from all the nations taking part in the 2014 World Cup and a target that I didn't expect to reach. In fact, until last month, I was on track for 92 films. But thankfully, some films appeared in the nick of time. Although, some films also disappeared. DVDs of two films that I had originally planned for the spotlight went missing from the local library, forcing a change in selection.

The delay in finding a lot of the films has meant that not all the viewing will be completed by the start of the Soccer World Cup on June 12. Therefore, this spotlight is likely to run past the end of the World Cup on July 13.

The 32 Nations and their 96 films are divided into the same 8 groups as the Soccer World Cup.

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

Country Film #1 Film #2 Film #3
Brazil Neigboring Sounds (2012, Kleber Mendonça Filho) Once Upon a Time Veronica (2012, Marcelo Gomes) Entranced Earth (1967, Glauber Rocha)
Croatia Buick Riviera (2009, Goran Rusinovic) Karaula (2006, Rajko Grlic) Witnesses (2003, Vinko Bresan)
Mexico El Violin (2005, Francisco Vargas) Post Tenebras Lux (2012, Carlos Reygadas) Presagio (1975, Luis Alcoriza)
Cameroon A Trip to the Country (2000, Jean-Marie Téno) Aristotle’s Plan (2006, Jean-Pierre Bekolo) Quartier Mozart (1992, Jean-Pierre Bekolo)

Group B: Spain, Holland, Chile, Australia

Country Film #1 Film #2 Film #3
Spain In the City of Sylvia (2007, José Luis Guerín) Blancanieves (2012, Pablo Berger) The Red Squirrel (1993, Julio Medem)
Holland Borgman (2013, Alex van Warmerdam) The Last Days of Emma Black (2009, Alex van Warmerdam) The Northerners (1992, Alex van Warmerdam)
Chile Tony Manero (2008, Pablo Larraín) Old Cats (2010, Pedro Peirano/Sebastián Silva) The Battle of Chile (1975-79, Patricio Guzmán)
Australia Snowtown (2011, Justin Kurzel) The Hunter (2011, Daniel Nettheim) The Last Wave (1977, Peter Weir)

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

Country Film #1 Film #2 Film #3
Colombia Crab Trap (2009, Oscar Ruiz Navia) Dog Eat Dog (2008, Carlos Moreno) Oedipus Mayor (1996, Jorge Alí Triana)
Greece Unfair World (2011, Filippos Tsitos) Dos (2011, Stathis Athanasiou) Ghost of a Chance (2001, Vangelis Seitanidis)
Ivory Coast Adanggaman (2000, Roger Gnoan M’Bala) Black Diamond (2010, Pascale Lamche) Burn it up Djassa (2012, Lonesome Solo)
Japan Like Father, Like Son (2013, Hirokazu Koreeda) Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (2013, Sion Sono) When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960, Mikio Naruse)

Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy 

Country Film #1 Film #2 Film #3
Uruguay A Useful Life (2010, Federico Veiroj) Bad Day to go Fishing (2009, Álvaro Brechner) Whisky (2004, Juan Pablo Rebella/Pablo Stoll)
Costa Rica Cold Water of the Sea (2010, Paz Fabrega) Gestacion (2009, Esteban Ramírez) Caribe (2004, Esteban Ramírez)
England Trishna (2011, Michael Winterbottom) Two Years at Sea (2011, Ben Rivers) If...(1968, Lindsay Anderson)
Italy Le Quattro Volte (2010, Michelangelo Frammartino) The Great Beauty (2013, Paolo Sorrentino) Il Posto (1961, Ermanno Olmi)

Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras 

Country Film #1 Film #2 Film #3
Switzerland Das Fraulein (2006, Andrea Staka) We Are The Faithful (2005, Michael Koch) Signer's Suitcase (1995, Peter Liechti)
Ecuador Crónicas (2004, Sebastián Cordero) Qué tan lejos (2006, Tania Hermida) A Titan in the Ring (2002, Viviana Cordero)
France Holy Motors (2012, Leos Carax) Bastards (2013, Claire Denis) L'Argent (1983, Robert Bresson)
Honduras El Porvier (2008, Oscar Estrada) Amor y frijoles (2009, Mathew Kodath/Hernan Pereira) Mi Amigo Angel (1962, Sami Kafati)

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria 

Country Film #1 Film #2 Film #3
Argentina Gone Fishing (2012, Carlos Sorin) Extraordinary Stories (2008, Mariano Llinás) Invasion (1969, Hugo Santiago)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Cirkus Colombia (2010, Danis Tanovic) Belvedere (2010, Ahmed Imamović) No Man's Land (2001, Danis Tanovic)
Iran This is Not a Film (2011, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb/Jafar Panahi) The White Meadows (2011, Mohammad Rasoulof) Taste of Cherry (1997, Abbas Kiarostami)
Nigeria Without Shame (2005, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen) Ezra (2007, Newton I. Aduaka) Last Flight to Abuja (2012, Obi Emelonye)

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States 

Country Film #1 Film #2 Film #3
Germany Everyone Else (2009, Maren Ade) Gerhard Richter - Painting (2011, Corinna Belz) World on a Wire (1973, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Portugal The Strange Case of Angelica (2010, Manoel de Oliveira) Centro Histórico (2012, Pedro Costa/Manoel de Oliveira/Víctor Erice/Aki Kaurismäki) Ossos (1997, Pedro Costa)
Ghana The Perfect Picture (2010, Shirley Frimpong-Manso) Sinking Sands (2011, Leila Djansi) A Sting in a Tale (2009, Shirley Frimpong-Manso)
USA Blue Ruin (2013, Jeremy Saulnier) Blue Caprice (2013, Alexandre Moors) Faces (1968, John Cassavetes)

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

Country Film #1 Film #2 Film #3
Belgium The Referees (2009, Yves Hinant/Eric Cardot/Delphine Lehericey) Eldorado (2008, Bouli Lanners) La Promesse (1996, Jean-Pierre Dardenne/Luc Dardenne)
Algeria Rachida (2002, Yamina Bachir) Outside the Law (2010, Rachid Bouchareb) Daughters of Keltoum (2001, Mehdi Charef)
Russia Alexandra (2007, Aleksandr Sokurov) The Edge (2010, Aleksey Uchitel) Stalker (1979, Andrei Tarkovsky)
South Korea In Another Country (2012, Hong Sang-soo) The Day He Arrives (2011, Hong Sang-soo) The Housemaid (1960, Ki-young Kim)

The Rules

Group Stage Points

In the Soccer World Cup, the maximum points a team can get from playing their 3 group games is 9. The same 9 points is also the maximum total that a country can achieve when its 3 films are pitted against other nations. The match-ups will be identical to the Soccer World Cup with the difference that Film #1 will only face another nation's Film #1, Film #2 will only go against another nation's Film #2.

Nation A, Film #1 vs Nation B, Film #1

A vote will be cast for a favorite film, thereby ensuring a 1-0 win. The winning nation will be awarded 3 points.

If both films are equally impressive and it is hard to pick a winner, a 1-1 tie will be declared, giving each nation 1 point each.

The top two nations will advance from each of the 8 groups.

If there is a tie for 1st or 2nd place, all 3 films from the tied nations will compete against each other. If after a head-to-head match-up, the nations cannot be separated, a coin toss will be used to pick a winner as a nod towards the Soccer World Cup which in the past used a coin toss as a tie-breaker.

Round of 16, Quarter-Round, Semi-Final, Final Criteria

The best film from all the 16 Nations advancing from the first round will be used in the Second Round.

A head-to-head match-up will be used to pick a winner based on either five or three categories.

Film A vs Film B [Five or Three categories]

If two Fictional films face each other, then the following five categories will be used:

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

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 film A is better than film B in a category, then film A will get 1 point and film B will get 0. If both film A and film B are equal in a category, then they each get 1 point.

If both films are tied 3-3 or 5-5 after all the scores are added up, the winning film will be decided by a subjective vote, which is similar to an emotional penalty shoot-out in soccer.

And finally..why a Soccer Film Spotlight

I first started a soccer film spotlight for the 2006 World Cup. Even though I never managed to find films from all the 32 nations, it was an exciting project which forced me to hunt for films from nations that are not often mentioned in film magazines or websites. For example, spending hours to hunt for films from Ivory Coast, Togo, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine helped shed a light on the state of cinema around the World and introduced me to many regional directors, whose work I could look forward to. The 2006 Movie World Cup helped fuel a love for cinema and opened my eyes to view films from any part of the world. In essence, it became a quest for Cinephilia and allowed me to believe a worthy film could come from any part of the World. As a result, I have been conducting these spotlights regularly not only for the World Cups (2010) but also for the European Championships (Euro 2008, 2012), Copa America (2007, 2011) and once for the African Cup of Nations.

Finding some films is certainly difficult but remarkably some films are easy to access but hidden away from plain sight. For example, the Ivorian film Burn it up Djassa is available to rent via iTunes Canada but it is not displayed anywhere in the Foreign films section. However, a search for the title on a hunch brought it up. Of course, if I was not searching for any films from Ivory Coast, I would have never been able to view this title. Already, I have seen one film that has reinforced the validity of this Movie World Cup. Jean-Pierre Bekolo's Aristotle’s Plan is love for cinema in all its 35mm glory and highlights the pull that filmmaking has for people. I have not come across a single critic who has mentioned this film yet this is a work that deserves to be praised and talked about. I hope to find many other such worthy films from this year's selection, especially those that the rest of the World wrongly ignores.


Sam Juliano said...

I had a lot of fun weighing the strengths of one team vs. another is this admittedly competitive field. In the end, as in all sports groupings, the analyst will evaluate based on his/her particular weighing system. While every team in this field has some sturdy vehicles, in my perception there are five that stand tallest for the final pairings. They are in no particular order:


It will be most interesting to see how these team perform! Ha!

Great work as always Sashin!

Sachin said...

Hi Sam, Thanks so much for your assessment which is very close to mine. I have not looked ahead to the knockout draw so I don't know which nations will face each other. Argentina is a dark horse and slightly stronger than Brazil. I wish my film #2 pick for Brazil was stronger. But I do think a winner could come from the nations you mention.