Jinni World Cup Final

July 8th, 2014 by Ran


We are at the finish line of Jinni’s film World Cup. During the last three weeks or so, we have seen many a film from many a nation battle it out for the honor of being crowned the greatest cinematic nation in the world. And now, the end is near, and so we face the final curtain… But before the final, let’s see what happened in the third place match, where Italy’s emotional  La nostra vita opposed Japan’s rough Outrage. Sorry Japan, but violence is not always the answer, and Italy claims the victory, and the title of the third best cinematic nation in the world!

And now for the final, Korea and Belgium. Let’s meet our films:


South Korea: Pieta (2012)

While Pieta means ‘pity’, you’d be hard pressed to find it in Ki-duk Kim’s film. The story is about a merciless debt collector who’s life changes when he meets a woman who claims to be his abandoning mother. Not believing her at first, he is persuaded by her determination and tolerance for pain and abuse… It’s a pretty bleak and disturbing affair, you know – Korean, but you cannot left unimpressed by the work of this master.


Belgium: Bullhead (2011)

The Belgians opt for the bleak mood as well with their entry, a crime drama about dealers of… wait for it… growth hormones. It’s a pretty topical film, and one that shows the psychological effects of (and the reasons for) abuse of this drug. It’s a gangster film with masculinity issues, and that’s how we like to see our criminals – weak and human (maybe too human).


So here are the finalists, now for the results: After careful deliberations, we at Jinni declare South Korea as the winner, and as the champion of Jinni’s first ever film world Cup. It was close and exciting, but to be honest, Korea’s dominance was never in peril. Belgium, you gave a hell of a fight, and there’s no shame in losing to such a strong nation. Congrats to all the participants, we’ll see you in four years for another battle of films. Adeus!


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Jinni World Cup 3rd Place Match

July 7th, 2014 by Ran


Hello and welcome to Jinni’s World Cup, the ultimate film tournament that will crown the greatest cinematic nation in the world. We are edging closer to the end of this tournament, much as the soccer tournament in Brazil. The only difference – reading this doesn’t take 120 goalless minutes. the semi-finals are over. In the first semis match Korea beat Italy, while in the second, Belgium’s Dardenne brothers tried to prevent an All-Asian final from Japan’s Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Their efforts were not in vain, as the small and surprising Belgians advance to the Final. But today, we focus on the losers, as we present the third place match between Italy and Japan. Let’s meet our films:


Italy: La nostra vital (2010)

There’s no better way to console yourself after a loss than a good cry, so the Italians send to the pitch an emotional drama about a young man whose life is turned upside down when his wife dies giving birth to their third child, leaving him as a caretaker for three small children. It’s a personal drama, but also a look at the Italian society, immigrants, family and morality. Beautifully acted, and powerful without being sappy.


Japan: Outrage (2010)

Japan’s way of handling defeat? Violence… Takeshi Kitano directs this gangster film about a mob henchman getting stuck with a job no one else wants to do. Kitano usually abides by the motto of the late great Eli Wallach – ‘’”When you have to shoot – shoot, don’t talk”. So if you’re looking for no-nonsense rough action thrillers, Kitano is your guy..


That’s today’s match. Will the Yakuza beat up the grieving widower? Or will their heart melt at his sob story? Check back tomorrow for the result, and for the ultimate Final between South Korea and surprising Belgium. Which nation will be 2014’s Champion of Film? We shall soon find out…

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Jinni World Cup–Semi-final #2

July 2nd, 2014 by Ran


Jinni World Cup is in its semi-finals stage and we are close to crown the greatest cinematic nation in the the world. There are were four countries left – Italy, South Korea, Japan and Belgium. In the first semi-final Italy’s Reality met South Korea’s The Yellow Sea. The results are just in… South Korea won and advanced to the final. Oh Italy, you gave a good fight (certainly better than in Brazil). You will have a chance to play for third place.

So now let’s go to the second semi-finals match, between Japan and Belgium. Let’s meet the films.

Japan: Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2012)

Japan’s entry stirred some controversy having an American director, but we here see this as similar to having a foreign coach, so we’ll allow it. It is a documentary about Japan’s signature food, and the elderly celebrated chef that makes it. it’s a beautifully made film that also talks about tradition, relations between parents and children and aging. It’s a poetic film that will charm you from start to end.


Belgium: Two Days, One Night (2014)

The Belgians smartly send another Dardenne brothers’ entry to the field. Their latest offering, starring Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, tells the story of a woman who tries to convince her coworkers to give up their bonuses so she won’t be fired. The Dardennes give us a sincere and brutal vision of human nature at work, and Cotillard gives an excellent subtle performance.


So will we have an all-Asian final, or will the bitter Belgian chocolate get the best of Japan’s sushi? Check back on Monday to see who won, and for the all-consoling third-place match. The disappointed Italians await!

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Jinni World Cup Semi-Final #1

July 2nd, 2014 by Ran


Thing are heating up in FIFA’s World Cup in Brazil, as the grandest of sports tournaments is heading into the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, in another part… of the web, another competition has reached its semi-final stage. This is Jinni’s film World Cup, the contest that will crown the greatest cinematic nation in the world. In the last quarter-final match Argentina chose a soccer themed film in an effort to outsmart the bleak realism of the Belgians. In the end, reality beat fantasy and Belgium advanced to the semi-finals.

Today we have our first semi-final, in which Italy meets South Korea. Let’s meet our teams:


Italy: Reality (2012)

Our Italian team has sent a film with a universal theme to this match-up. It’s a biting media satire about our obsession with being on TV, and the effects of reality TV on our society. An ordinary person’s life is turned upside down when he decides to audition for Big Brother. It’s an entertaining and colorful film with a message, and has a relatable hero. Can you ask for more than that?


Korea: The Yellow Sea (2010)

If you want suspense thrillers, you would be wise to look in Korea. One of the best thrillers in recent years tells the story of a down on his luck taxi driver on the border of South and North Korea who agrees to take on a shady job in hopes of ridding himself from debt. Things don’t go according to plan, but we spectators get a hell of a ride. The bleak atmosphere just adds more to the suspense.


So who will win this exciting match between these two cinema powerhouses? Check back tomorrow to see who won, and to meet our other semi-finals teams, from Japan and Belgium. Will we have an all-Asian final, or maybe an all-European one? We will soon find out.


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Jinni World Cup 4th Quarter-Final

June 26th, 2014 by Ran


We are nearing the final four stage in Jinni’s film World Cup, the competition that will crown the greatest cinematic nation in the world? Yesterday, Spain sent their own version of Snow White to fight Japan’s anime master for a place in the semis. It was a close match, but Japan prevailed (in a penalty shootout).

Now for our last quarter-finals match, we have Argentina and Belgium:

Argentina: Metegol (2013)

In a clever move, the Argentines send a soccer-themed film to the competition. Juan Jose Campanella, who directed the Oscar winning The Secret in Their Eyes in 2009, comes back with an animated family film. The story is about a young kid who loves football, but because of his shyness, he only plays foosball. When the foosball players come to life, they help him with his troubles. It’s an endearing film in which adults and kids alike will surely find pleasure.


Belgium: The Kid with a Bike (2011)

By the title you might think this is also a family film, but far from it. The Dardenne brothers have been the champions of realism ever since their breakout The Promise in 1996. The story is about a troubled kid in foster care who desperately tries to reconnect with the father who abandoned him, meanwhile developing a relationship with a Goodhearted social worker. It’s quite a gloomy affair, but ultimately rewarding, and might be considered their most optimistic film in their filmography (which is not saying much, but still).

So who will win this battle of contrasts? Will the Belgians’ bleakness bring the fantasizing Argentines to the ground? Check back on Tuesday for the results and for the first semi-final, between Italy and Korea. Will the Italians avenge their 2002 World Cup defeat at the hands of the referee Koreans? We shall wait and see.

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