Jinni World Cup 4th Quarter-Final

June 26th, 2014 by Ran

3rd-quarter-final

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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Jinni World Cup 3rd Quarter-final

June 26th, 2014 by Ran

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This is a time of joy and celebrations for all soccer football fans. The World Cup in Brazil is getting close to the knockout stage, with lots of upsets, goals, excitement… and also some biting. This is also a time to celebrate ‘the seventh art’ – cinema – in Jinni’s film world cup, the competition that will crown the greatest cinematic nation in the world. We are in the quarter-finals stage, and in yesterday’s match, France’s The Artist met Korea’s Poetry for a one on one match-up. When the whistle blew, we witnessed somewhat of an upset, when the Oscar winning French succumbed to the Cannes winning Koreans, who advance to the semis.

Moving on, today’s match features Spain and Japan. Let’s meet our contestants:

 

Spain: Blancanieves (2012)

Spain sends to this competition its own homage to silent films (with hopes it’ll do better than The Artist). Based on the folk tale Snow White (Blancanieves in Spanish), this film melds into the story bullfighting, melodrama and gothic elements. It is very beautifully made and has a unique feel to it.

Japan: The Wind Rises (2013)

Not to be outdone visually, the Japanese send to the field animation master Hayao Miyazaki’s swansong, as the 73 year old director is set to retire. The story is a biography of Jiro Horikoshi, one the most innovative airplane designers in history. This film is a visual pleasure and although it is his most adult-oriented feature, it still possesses the youthful sense of wonder so synonymous with Miyazaki. He will be missed.

 

Who will win this intriguing match-up? Will the Spanish console their football woes with some cinematic success? Will Miyazaki get sympathy votes for his farewell creation? Check back tomorrow to find out, and see our last of the quarterfinals match, between Argentina and Belgium.

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Jinni World Cup–2nd Quarter-Final

June 25th, 2014 by Ran

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Hey, I didn’t see you there? It’s good that you came because I was just about to present the second quarter-final of Jinni’s film World Cup, the competition that will crown the greatest cinematic nation in the world. Yesterday we had our first match of the quarters, and it was a doozy – host nation Brazil entered with the biting Neighboring Sounds against Italy’s Caesar Must Die. After the dust settled it seems that the host has left the building. Italy advances to the semis! I’m sorry, Brazil, you put up a hell of a fight. It may console you to realize that you are still in the football World Cup, and Italy has gone home. For our next quarters match-up we have France and Korea. Let’s meet the contestants:

 

France: The Artist (2011)

France gets out its big guns with an Oscar winner directed by Michel Hazanavicius. It is a homage to silent films. The story is set in Hollywood, during the move from silent to talking films. You wouldn’t think a silent film would work in this ADHD day and age, but it’s clever and beautiful.

 

Korea: Poetry (2010)

After the brutal I Saw the Devil, Korea decides to go with its antithesis in the quarters. The story is of an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s, who learns that her son committed a heinous crime. Through all this hardship, she enrolls to a poetry class and finds strength to go on. It’s delicately made and exquisitely acted. It’s a true hidden gem.

 

So who do you think should win this stylized quarter finals match and advance to the semis? You can vote and influence the results. Check back tomorrow for the next match, Spain goes against Japan. Will Spain’s cinematic fate be better than that of its football team? Japan is a formidable adversary.

 

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Jinni World Cup–1st Quarter Final

June 23rd, 2014 by Ran

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Welcome to Jinni’s World Cup, the ultimate film tournament that will crown the greatest cinematic nation in the world. After an exciting round of 16, we have arrived at the quarter-finals stage. The match-up that will open this round is between host nation Brazil who squeaked by Chile in the last round and Italy who beat Colombia. So let’s see the new films selected for this stage:

 

Brazil: Neighboring Sounds (2012)

(Not so) Hidden underneath all the glamour and excitement of the World cup are the social problems rampant in Brazil, which caused people to protest what they feel as a gross misappropriation of funds. Fittingly, Brazil’s entry is critical in nature. It has a multiple stories structure, set in an affluent Brazilian apartment building, a sort of gated community. It’s a tapestry of Brazil’s divided society, and the frictions between the rich and the poor. The tension is well built and while the criticism is pretty obvious, it’s not hammered in.

 

Italy: Caesar Must Die (2013)

The Taviani brothers’ latest offering blurs the line between reality and fiction, with a staging of William Shakespeare’s play of the same name at a high-security prison in Rome. Don’t expect an uplifting film about prisoners defying the odds to become actors. No, these criminals are not nice guys, they are tough and intimidating. The story of the play, about the plot to assassinate Caesar, brings out the real character in each actor. It’s an impressive display of acting by the inmates, and a master work of direction by the brothers who are still going strong in their eighties.

 

So who will advance to the semi-finals? Will host nation Brazil bow out this early in the competition? Will it cause riots in the streets and a national mourning day? You can vote and influence the results. Tomorrow we will have our second quarter-final between France and Korea. a VERY close match-up, that will go down to the wire.

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Jinni World Cup Day 8

June 22nd, 2014 by Ran

game8

So we have reached the final match of Jinni’s World Cup, the contest that will crown the greatest cinematic nation in the world. Yesterday’s match saw Argentina’s Chinese Take-Out battle Ecuador’s Pescador for a place in the next round, and it appears that the Argentines took out the Ecuadorians, and not for lunch. Today’s match pits the promising Belgians and the enigmatic Portuguese. Let’s see what they’re all about:

Belgium: The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)

While you usually think of Belgium as that mass of land between The Netherlands and France, its film industry is very critically acclaimed around the world. Today’s contestant is an emotional and complex story of a couple dealing with their daughter’s terminal illness. While the subject is surely a downer, the way it is constructed, the chemistry between the actors and and the beautiful Bluegrass score will help you pull through all those sad and difficult moments.

Portugal: Tabu (2012)

In contrast to their soccer team, and namely their hotshot star Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese films are usually offbeat and subdued. Today’s contestant is a fine example of that, a love story set in Portugal’s African colony during the 1960s. It’s in black and white, kind of odd, and has a very whimsical feel. It’s not for everyone, but rewarding and very beautiful.

Please vote on which nation you want to advance to the quarter-finals, which will begin on Tuesday. The first match-up of the quarters is between two old soccer rivals, Brazil and Italy. Will their cinematic match-up end like in 1970, 1982, or maybe like in 1994? We’ll have to wait and see.

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