Monday, August 04, 2014

2014 Movie World Cup: Top 4

The Quarter-Finals of the 2014 Movie World Cup featured four enticing contests with eight excellent films. There was very little to choose between the films, a fact demonstrated by single point victories in three of the matches with penalties deciding the fourth one.

Brazil (Neighboring Sounds) 3-3 Japan (When a Woman Ascends the Stairs)

It is appropriate this match went to an emotional penalty shoot-out as emotion is the driving force conveyed by both films. The Japanese film has a beautiful story with some stellar acting that transmits the emotional roller coaster Hideko Takamine’s character of Keiko goes through. The Brazilian film does not use story and acting to get audience to feel emotions. Instead it uses sound, editing and cinematography to inject fear in the audience. As a result, the emotional impact of the Brazilian film stays long after the credits have rolled.

Country: Film Acting Story Cinematography Direction Production Score
Brazil: Neighboring Sounds 001113
Japan: When a Woman Ascends the Stairs 110103
Brazil wins in an emotional penalty shoot-out.

France (L’Argent) 4-3 Portugal (The Strange Case of Angelica)

Two masters of cinema with thoughtful films that both show how a sequence of events impact two men who were only trying to do their job. In the French film, collecting payment lands a man in jail and a life of crime while in the Portuguese film, the protagonist ends up falling in love while on a routine job. The men in both films lose their head and soul, albeit by different means.

The French film narrowly progresses to the semi-finals on the basis of a stronger story and the attentive visuals one expects from a Bresson film.

Country: Film Acting Story Cinematography Direction Production Score
France: L'Argent 011114
Portugal: The Strange Case of Angelica 100113

Mexico (El Violin) 4-5 Italy (Il Posto)

A classic rural vs urban match with the Mexican film showing how a revolution grows outside a city. On the other hand, the Italian film depicts the tension and nervousness that accompanies job hunting in a city. Both Black and White films use a verite style to give audience a front row perspective on events. As a result, both films are rich and immersive cinema. However, the Italian film narrowly edges into the semi-finals due to stronger finishing in the final third which means the film hits all the appropriate notes from start to finish.

Country: Film Acting Story Cinematography Direction Production Score
Mexico: El Violin 111014
Italy: Il Posto 111115

Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) 3-4 Belgium (La Promesse)

The Argentine film has by far the most creative story while the Belgium film dazzles with its visual beauty, which has now become a trademark of any film by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

Country: Film Acting Story Cinematography Direction Production Score
Argentina: Extraordinary Stories 010113
Belgium: La Promesse 101114

Like the previous round, Argentina are again involved in an identical match to the Soccer World Cup. However, unlike their 1-0 win over Belgium in Soccer, the Argentine film loses by a solitary point to the Belgian film.


96 films started the 2014 Movie World Cup but only four remain:

Brazil (Neighboring Sounds) vs France (L’Argent)

Italy (Il Posto) vs Belgium (La Promesse)

Three European films have reached the final four while Brazil are proudly flying the flag for rest of the world.

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