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 Memories of Underdevelopment: “Cuba (Memories of Underdevelopment) 1 – Palestine (Paradise Now) 0”
If you are voting for Paradise Now: “Cuba (Memories of Underdevelopment) 0 – Palestine (Paradise Now) 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 Sunday, April 15 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.
I don’t think I’ll have time to watch and vote in this one unfortunately. Although I do want to rewatch Memories of Underdevelopment. I watched it over a decade ago in a Latin Cinema class. But I recently rewatched Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s Death of a Bureaucrat and put it at the top of my list for submissions here. It didn’t get in the cup obviously, and I think it’s a totally different genre, but I’d recommend it if you like Memories of Underdevelopment… or even if you don’t.
Cuba (Memories of Underdevelopment) 0 – Palestine (Paradise Now) 1
The Cuban film was an interesting time-capsule. Dealing with events like the Bay of Pigs and Cuban missile crisis in the context of a story involving a rather apolitical bourgeois writer was a surprising take for a Cuban film from this period, so soon after the revolution. The main character is shown as self-indulgent and rather uninvolved in the revolution all around him. His life goes on relatively unchanged and he soon finds some women to take the place of his missing wife. Using some documentary footage within the story was a way of registering the times and getting the political message across. Also, just showing us the type of class (according to the film) that left the island with the advent of the revolution (ie, the idle and spoiled rich represented by the writer’s wife and friends) made its political point. A film trying for a sophisticated edge, made to look very much like a French film of the time. The director even threw in some ‘gratuitous’ female nudity for good measure, just like the French.
The Palestinian film was a devastating and a realistic feeling portrayal of two political ‘martyrs’ who both feel they have nothing to lose in furthering their cause. Good psychologcal insights and some tense moments, like the best action thriller. Very well-acted by all involved, keeping the focus always on the human dimension over the overtly political. This film gets to the heart of the scarring emotional background behind these desparate acts of resistance and the shocking human costs on both sides of the dispute. This is a film that deals with the motives and reasoning behind these acts (suicide bombings) without becoming political propaganda.
A good match-up.
cuba (memories of underdevelopment) 1 – palestine (paradise now) 0
i liked both but the cuban film is a bit stunning! in fact i might have given it 5 stars if the guy hadn’t been such a womanizing jerk! of course i realize he isn’t meant to be a hero but i am still a bit shocked such a film was allowed to be made in castro’s cuba
Cuba (Memories of Underdevelopment) 1 – Palestine (Paradise Now) 0
Memories of Underdevelopment : This film has most of the ingredients that I enjoy in a film. A misanthrope protagonist searching for meaning in his life; his love for his country and an equal disdain for his countrymen who refuse to grow out of their underdeveloped mindsets; his insatiable appetite for women and his slightly condescending way of looking upon them as dumb sex objects; a nostalgia for old times and a historical perspective of the country using documentary footage. All these aspects are put together with some lovely editing and handheld camerawork which makes viewing this film a pleasure. A wonderful discovery thanks to the submitters.
Paradise Now : This film had the potential to be great right up to the point where they try to cross the fence and the hilarious sequence where one of the protagonist jumps from one side to the other several times without getting spotted. Then the sequence where the “to be” jehad’s try to film their last message to the people and it keeps going wrong spoiling their whole enthusiasm. So essentially as long as the film maintained this mood of satire, it was amazing. But then unfortunately the film became sentimental and ended in a rather dramatic and unimaginative fashion. But still, I must congratulate the submitters for this film.
Cuba (Memories of Underdevelopment) – 1 vs. Palestine (Paradise Now) – 0
I return oh so briefly . . .
With nothing of particular value to add to any conversation. Although I rate both 4 stars on this site, I’m not sure that Paradise Now really stacks up in competition. I think the comparison above of Memories to a French film from that same era has some merit, for what it’s worth. I do think I should point out that it’s been a bit since I saw both films for the first time (although I managed to rewatch both recently). I still remember the first time I saw Memories. Not so much for Paradise Now.
Kaiiiiii ! hello :)
Cuba (Memories of Underdevelopment) – 1 vs. Palestine (Paradise Now) – 0
Damn, I missed Mr. White. Oh well, need to get busy and watch these movies.
Two extremely underrated cinemas! While I thought Paradise Now was great, it is simply out of its league!
Not much of a competition. Paradise Now is a solid film but Memories of Underdevelopment is one of my favorites.
This is not a vote in support of my doomed-to-lose submission. If you see my list of favorite Spanish-language movies, two canonical titles are conspicuous by his absence and Memories is one of them: The script is good and the mise-en-scène includes interesting expressive resources (particularly the flashbacks); but I do not appreciate at all the nouvelle vague/Antonioni worst influences, the abuse of the voice-over (I had mentioned this in a previous match, hadn’t I?) and the uncommitted/passive protagonist. That said I think Titón is an A filmmaker, probably Cuba’s greatest.
I’m fine with the basic story that Paradise Now tells, but I didn’t really enjoy how it told it. The basic arc of commitment, complications, and doubts seemed fairly predictable, at least until the very end of the film. It feels like the Palestinian struggle for the masses, and I’d personally prefer seeing a lot more nuance.
Memories of Underdevelopment has Daisy Granados, so it doesn’t really need a whole lot more justification for getting my vote. Death of a Bureaucrat would have been another great choice for Cuba, as Risselada mentioned. Cuban cinema has generally had quite a bit of leeway to question aspects of the Revolution, and especially so in the 60s after P.M. was banned. (Check it out on YouTube if you haven’t seen it. It’s only about 10 minutes long.) Memories promotes the type of viewing that a “revolutionary” individual should engage in, understanding the underlying circumstances in the Revolutionary period, the nature of decadence and the influence of European and Western culture, and the value of both cinema and the arts in coming to some realization about the place of Revolutionary Cuba in the world. The protagonist fits entirely into that decadence, and the audience is supposed to dislike him, both because he cannot commit to the Revolution and because he feels that art should be uncommitted. The problem you run into, of course, is that it’s not cinema for everyone, much like going to see a Brecht play. I’m excited to see what else gets chosen from Cuba.
thanks for mentioning P.M., brian davisson, it is indeed on youtube and there’s a link on the film’s page. it’s a very interesting short showing life in the waterfront bars in the poorer sections of havana, people drinking, dancing, playing music. no subs but there’s really no dialogue that needs interpreting. i enjoyed it very much!
Because I haven’t seen Paradise Now. :P
Besides, Alea is a very underrated director and definitely ruled 1968 with the movie above. Yeah, I said it. It’s better than 2001.
Your vote doesn’t count if you haven’t seen both films.
Sigh…Sorry for breaking (and, in turn, not reading) the rules.
Memorias del subdesarrollo had so many good things: the romantic scene with Elena was great and the moment in which that little guy carrying the double bass steals both’s attention was priceless, hehehe, Gutiérrez Alea does have a smooth and intelligent humor sense.
Some pieces of Sergio’s monologues had an extreme beauty too, but I wouldn’t know if I should rate this over or under La muerte de un burócrata.
By literally merging the political and the personal, Alea is able to take a hard look at the results of regime change in Cuba, while also developing a fascinating character study. That one organically flows out of the other is this film’s triumph.
And it’s 12 – 3 for Cuba if I am not mistaken =o
I’m sure Memories of Underdevelopment will one day be part of my all time top 10. Both Paradise Now and Memories are very interesting but Memories is a richer experience.
I can see why Cuba has garnered the bulk of votes with its skilful blending of political statement, human narrative and documentary historic footnote however it left me as passively disengaged as Sergio. Paradise Now drew me close to its tormented heart despite its manipulative tendences, laboured attempts at humour/satire and uneven delivery.
Cuba (Memories of Underdevelopment) – 0 / Palestine (Paradise Now) – 1
i didn’t get to watch these films in time :(