This topic is part of the 2012 MUBI World Cup. If you have not already done so, please read the first post at the topic for an introduction to and rules about this year’s World Cup:
The purpose of this topic is to cast votes in the matchup listed above and also to be a forum for discussing the films in the match.
Anyone who has seen both of the films listed above may vote in this match. You must vote for whichever of the two films you personally like better. In order to vote you must post a reply to this topic containing one of the following sequences:
If you are voting for Extraordinary Stories: “Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) 1 – Japan (The Naked Island) 0”
If you are voting for The Naked Island: “Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) 0 – Japan (The Naked Island) 1”
Your vote must contain the names of both films with a “one” after the film you are voting for and a “zero” after the other film. If your vote is not formatted in this way it will not be counted.
Along with your vote you are strongly encouraged to leave additional comments regarding your reactions to the films, your reasons for why you voted the way you did, and responses to other participants’ comments. Being able to have deep discussion about the films and different aspects of them is an important part of finding enjoyment in participating in the World Cup.
This match will end on Saturday, March 31 at 10:00 PM GMT. No votes attempted to be cast after that time will be counted. Shortly after the match ends the votes will be tallied and a winner of the match will be declared. If the films both receive the same number of votes, the match will be considered a tie.
The percentage of votes each film receives in a match will have an effect on whether or not the corresponding country will participate in the final round of the World Cup. Thus even if the film you vote for loses in this match, your vote will still be important.
The results of the matches as well as the schedule for future matches can be found here:
If you would like to participate but are unable to find sources to watch these films, please send me a personal message so that I can invite you to the private website featuring internet links to view the films.
Not that I want to upset Rohit for talking about a film after only seeing half of it, but…
I watched half of Exraordinary Stories last night and couldn’t continue because I had to get to sleep or I would have not been functional the next day, but I really wanted to just stay up and watch the rest. It’s always amazing to me when a film can create such interest through mystery and intrigue with such sparse action.
It’s killing me that I have a full night tonight and probably won’t be able to watch any more still.
I was going to be totally SHOCKED if anything came remotely close to beating The Naked Island for me, but this film is probably the closest one has gotten.
Again, it’s only halfway through though, so don’t take this as anything final. But I’m guessing this might be my favorite match of the cup.
quit acting like a woman, riss. ^ i think this might be the best match too. historias extraordinarias is my favorite film i have yet seen. and i haven’t watched naked island. will do that tonight. should be exciting
this match is totally unfair, it is such a pity one of these fims should be disposed of.
Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) 0 – Japan (The Naked Island) 1
Argentine labyrinthine (ala Borges) maximalism vs Japanese zen-like minimalism. One film has a verbose, twisitng narrative. The other is simple and direct, with no dialogue at all. Quite a contrast of styles, but both worth seeing because they are so different. A great pairing. Thanks to the Cup for finding these.
Extraordinary Stories is certainly an ambitious work. I was intrigued by the first half, but then found my attention wandering a bit during the second, Not every episode grabbed me the same and sadly, I found the tales becoming quite conventional when all was said and done. Were the film shorter and tighter, then it might have worked better for me. Of course, the meandering and wandering from story to story is the point, but I was losing interest by the end.
First time seeing Naked Island. Not sure how I missed this before. It is a very elegiac film, not needing any dialogue. Almost like a documentary ala Flaherty until the tragic end.
Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) 1 – Japan (The Naked Island) 0
Historias extraordinarias is one of the best-written films I can recall from the last decade or so. It’s very self-aware without being in any way imposing, and keeps very solid interest in the characters. The cinematography is also wonderful. The only part I found distracting and not so significant was the aside with the missing woman and her husband and lover. I appreciated that the story that X had concocted was entirely incorrect, but it didn’t feel like it merited so much of its own story. Doubtless others felt it worked very well. I was very happy to see that it lived up to the high appraisal so many people had shown for it.
The Naked Island was a let-down for me the first time I saw it, but I rewatched it for the match and was pleasantly surprised to find it had grown a bit on me. I remembered the music being very intrusive the first time, and the second time around it still was, but not nearly as much. The piece that plays through most of it reminds me too much of the idyllic island scene in Papillon. The music that plays when the man is looking for a doctor is also too much in my opinion. It would work better for me with just diegetic sound throughout. The story itself is good, and its certainly well-shot, but I like Shindo’s darker films quite a bit more. (For what it’s worth, I could also do without the woman being slapped.)
I have gone over both these films in certain length already in other threads so I will keep my comments brief this time. Extraordinary Stories is an enjoyable film but at the same time I am not as impressed with it as some other people seem to be. The Naked Island has some lovely photography and that’s about it.
Remember when I called the last match my favorite up to that point? Yeah, well this one topped it.
After (and quite often during) watching Historias Extrordinarias I was confident this film would be getting my vote. Rarely has a film that is so complex been so engaging. Despite the multiple plot threads I was never lost, and consistently amazed by the film’s ability to keep me interested and bombard me with interesting thematic moments in service of these very interesting characters, all of them off doing something they never imagined they’d be doing.
But then the simplicity, the bare humanity, of Naked Island took it away for me. There isn’t one shot in all four plus hours of Historias Extrordinarias that hit me as hard as the shot of the mother standing on a cliff, watching fireworks in the distance. Just incredible.
So in this one simplicity beats complexity, though that probably wouldn’t always be the case. Either way:
MY DVD FOR THE NAKED ISLAND STILL HASN’T ARRIVED RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGHH!!!
watch it on youtube. it isn’t that bad
extremely hard decision. both movies are first class. i think i’ll sleep on it
but i ordered it and i really wanna watch the dvd. if it’s not in by deadline time, i’ll stream it…begrudgingly.
I am not as pugnacious as my comments might give an impression. I prefer to ignore if some problem persists, accepting it as a harsh reality. Moreover, I am not too passionate about either of these films to get upset.
It is that kind of a film isn’t it?; like reading a good mystery novel. You want to finish it at one go.
Watch it there if you have to, but the better resolution you can see it the better I think. A lot of the enjoyment for me came from seeing the visual detail. I saw it projected at the theater and it was breathtaking.
I almost submitted a Kohei Oguri film instead of The Naked Island but I’m glad I didn’t. It’s awesome to hear the responses of people who were affected by it. Riss and I have talked about this already; seeing it on a big screen is an experience I’ll never forget (although I saw it on my plasma and not in a theater).
naked island is gorgeous, but the british evening light of spring has gone all mellow and kipling, and makes me wish i lived in a prefab with a cocker spaniel called puck and a bearded uncle to pat my knee and tell me shaggy dog stories. until some old imperialist pervert adopts me and makes that happen i’ll sit on my borges and settle for llinas and his lion….
by a hair
Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) – (0) vs. Japan (The Naked Island) – (1)
Probably for the first time in one of these Auteur/World Cups I’m faced with a match where, depending what day it is, my choice could have changed completely.
Interesting, while Oxymoron is apt in his descriptions, the films are quite paradoxical in nature. The maximalist Extraordinary Stories – four hours long, three plots, narratives out of Pychon’s The Crying of Lot 49 – turns out to be about the small details of life, how intricate and minor pieces of information can affect how we perceive things and how as beings we can end up linking them together, even if our creative truth turns out to be fiction (as in the turning point where two female voice break into a predominately male film and drives it to another level). On the other hand the minimalist Naked Island – 90 minutes long. no dialogue, low budget and with a crew that was around 12 or less (?) including the director – ends up being about some of the biggest ideas possible, of our connection to nature, how we live our lives despite our struggles (be it set on a barren Japanese island or in another location) and, when it leads to the town scenes, a mirror to a point in Japanese history that, while I have barely any knowledge on the subject despite my interest, was when the country’s traditions were facing the progressing technological advances and Western influence.
Tonight, I feel my choice lay with the Japanese entry, but I thank everyone who choose these films. This sets the bare incredibly high for any other match to compete with in terms of both films being of this quality to the point I could argue both are masterpieces.
Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) – 0 / Japan (The Naked Island) – 1
argentina (extraordinary stories) – 1 — japan (the naked island) – 0
naked island was very beautiful and sort of hypnotic. in fact i fell asleep a couple times lol. i think it was the music. i liked that it was a silent film with a very timeless quality. extraordinary stories is my fave film of the cup so far. absolutely have seen nothing else like it. i want to recommend it to everyone i know yet don’t know quite how to describe it. the cup was worth it just to see this cuz at 4 hrs i was prolly not gonna watch it on my own!
Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) 1 — Japan (The Naked Island) 0
Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) – 0 — Japan (The Naked Island) – 1
This is a tough one for me. and by the way, this is my first time voting for the cup. Horraaay! Both of them i really love. Extraordinary Stories has a splendid post-modern narrative, Pynchonesque, they say. But I settled in with Naked Island for its contemplative spirit and for its elusive cinematography. It just that Naked Island has affected me, if not aesthetically, in a deep, spiritual level. But this is not how I generally I evaluate the movie. Memories flooded as I watched the first few scenes. I remember my childhood, and the hard work of my parents. We do live beside the sea and I’ve been taken to boating trips by my father visiting different islands at Sorsogon Bay here in the Philippines.
Here are two techniques that I like ONLY when used properly, as a narrative resort and not as a system: Voice-over and silence. It’s no wonder, then, I am not big fan of, for example, Malick or Tsai.
That said, I (unexpectedly) like both films. Maybe too extreme approaches but really engaging (the voice-overed film is my language and that helps, not so sure about the opposite situation).
More than perhaps any other match, this one is really showing our preferences. Loving the comments so far.
Argentina (Extraordinary Stories) 0 — Japan (The Naked Island) 1
Whatever 2 Dead Magpies said, me too. Except I have to vote for Naked Island; not that it’s better or I enjoyed it more than Historias Extraordinarias (comparisons as they say are odious), but everything in Naked Island screamed viscerally—some language everyone knows and no-one can read. It’s also stripped to the bone, valued elementally by the film maker as much as water for those islanders. I can’t think of one reason not to choose Llinás’ film, I just have to pick the other one.
Yes. The closest match so far.
Really a great match. “Historias extraordinarias” is no doubt my favorite Argentine film of the past decade (which says a lot considering there were masters like Alonso, Martel, Loza, Filipelli and Berneri around), an incredibly intriguing and funny experiment with the cinematic language which demontrates that there is still a lot of room for new ways of expression, and no need at all to repeat fixed stylistic patterns. “The Naked Island” is obviously tough to vote against, it’s a stellar example of silent expression which does a great job depicting the bare essence of the human condition, so I rather stop writing about it before I change my mind.
The Naked Island was a fine, lovely film, but it didn’t quite resonate with me. I think it was on the White Mountains vs Public Housing match thread that somebody said something along those lines; to me, the film elicits more respect than passion. On the other hand, Extraordinary Stories took its damn time to get me hooked, but once I was I couldn’t get enough. I still find myself thinking about many little details and particular chapters, it’ll surely stay with me for a while. It left me with such a pleasant feeling afterwards and honestly made me feel like I need to appreciate the little things in life more, now if that’s not a concrete example of how art can affect your life, I don’t know what is!