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 Amelia and the Angel: “England (Amelia and the Angel) 1 – Serbia (Pretty Village, Pretty Flame) 0”
If you are voting for Pretty Village, Pretty Flame: “England (Amelia and the Angel) 0 – Serbia (Pretty Village, Pretty Flame) 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 Tuesday, April 24 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’m hoping to vote in this one too. Because I want to see Meg’s pick, and it’s not too long. And also I’ve become interested in Bosnian War films. I have yet to watch either one though.
England (Amelia and the Angel) 1 – Serbia (Pretty Village, Pretty Flame) 0
I’m not sure if comments are necessary at this point, as I notice most participants are just posting their votes. So, even with the possibility of being tedious, here are some quick thoughts on these two films. Anyone is welcome to skip them.
The Russell film was quite a find. As a fan (but often, a frustrated one) of much of Russell’s work, I appreciated Meg’s intro thread for the film (a must read), which was very informative and insightful. I think we can see in this early film, Russell in a nutshell – as Meg mentions. Although the story is rather slight, we can see Russell’s visual imagination at work, his use of visual cues and symbols in a creative and fun way. Interesting how Meg also sees an element of innocence in Russell’s work, which I think is definitely a key to his work and very much in evidence here. Also, Russell often reminds me of the horrid boys so disliked by Amelia. Like Amelia’s ‘horrid’ little brother, he was often inclined to swing his cinematic angel wings around in ways that could destroy them through his over-exuberance and tendency to excess in the pursuit of his vision. However, in this early example, he just goes with the story and makes it work.
Very difficult to compare this short work with a film that tries to deal with the tragic consequences of the Bosnian civil war. Using earthy and very black humor, going back and forth in time, this was a creative handling of the tragic circumstances of villagers imploding on themselves and once fast friends eventually belonging on opposite sides of the ethnic divide. The film shows the consequences of setting people up in self-contained, diametrically opposed units by race or religion. Old hatreds and ethnic prejudices trump regional identification. When central authority is gone, all hell breaks lose with increasingly tragic and almost farcical (in this film, anyway) consequences.
The film also shows, through some pointed irony, that these diverse elements were somehow contained under Tito’s dictatorship. This war, terrible as any other, was an awful consequence of the rise of sectarian nationalism in Europe with the fall of the Soviet Union and the splintering off of its satellites. The implosion of Yugoslavia had huge negative consequences that still resonate in the region today. Although some of the film’s graphic images were hard to take, this film certainly got its point across.
Oxymoron, comments are always highly encouraged and welcome regardless of what th trends seem to be. I especially always appreciate all of your comments. I stopped reading this afer your first paragraph because I want to watch both films first, but I’ll be back.
Again thank you so much for your comments. They always better my experience of watching the films and of the cup altogether.
Thanks, Riss. I always read and enjoy comments, too, including your own. Unless someone tells us, we have no idea why they are choosing one film over another. I know many just don’t want to comment in any detail, which is fine, too. If I could make shorter comments on any thread and get my points across, I would. Don’t want to try the patience or attention spans of any mubi member.
It seems most favor the short form here (or the vote and dash), so will leave it at that.
One day I hope to write comments again, but I’ve barely been able to watch the films and vote. Sometimes though I write after the bout closes, or write a short review on the film’s page. Time’s been kinda sulky lately. Stays in its room with the music real low, refuses to acknowledge anyone at meals, shoots dope and borrows lots of money.
i may have mentioned before that i hate kid films. but aside from being too cloyingly sweet and glibly innocent, this one was more than bearable, maybe because it was so obviously cute that the cuteness and catholic schmaltz could be easily disregarded and i could focus on the postwar londonness instead. particularly nice to see russell before he got ridiculous. also, a pseudo-deadbird is almost a fake angel, so despite one hell of an ugly dog, no problem being inclined to vote for this film. kind of reminded of elizabeth russell’s more surreal more inventive film made about the same time – food for a blluuusssshhhhh!
the serbian film on the other hand. i’m all for absurdity. absolutely for it, and there’s nothing more absurd than war. but i almost despair that i’ve not seen many films made by balkans, about balkan conflict, that don’t consist entirely of ironic detachment. (as a coping mechanism maybe it’s necessary, as a mechanism for making a film, not so much) this one was the most accomplished that i’ve seen, with the self-conscious ultra-irony of ironic detachment as done by michael bay (sensationalist splosions aplenty). it’s so detached that it flies free and smacks you in the face so that you’re too busy being pummelled to imagine there might be any alternatives other than that of hand-wringing angelina jolie pc-nonsense. i suppose the only ‘good’ thing about this film was that no one fucked a baby. i’ve seen better serbian films. as pedja ironically wrote on the film’s page: ‘Overblown!’
Have to say firstly, that I’m generally not a big fan of either, children or war movies. And wasn’t crazy about either of these two films.
Amelia and the Angel, I felt, had some nice and interesting insights into the child’s world, I have to say I enjoyed the scenes with Amelia in her room just after she saw her brother has ruined the wings and the one with lady selling clothes in the street. Innocence and naivety and fear that comes from those all together could have worked better, if the story had not fallen short and I’d say sometimes verging to come across as banal and too indulgent.
Pretty Village, Pretty Flame I thought was essentially lacking in justification for all the absurdity and irony and the only excuse I found was that it is a movie about the war, so you would expect that. I’m just not sure if that is enough for me to buy the movie as a whole. Ironically, given this movies’ match, the scenes I enjoyed the most were those about the childhood of Milan and Halil.
England (Amelia and the Angel)1 — Servia (Pretty Village, Pretty Flame) 0
Amelia and the Angel isn’t my idea of a good film, selected stills or film grabs (Russell was a still photographer at this time) are more interesting to me than the rather silly, fabulist moving picture. Mr Russell is one of those directors who don’t speak to me, in any film. Perhaps his foraging into Roger Corman territory in The White Worm being how I best remember him in an element he fit. I’d like to not belabor my reservations to Amelia and the Angel. Cute kids, dogs, dotty old men, leafy parks, a naughty deed, fairy book redemption, dubious editing choices, sort of a home movie Red Balloon. Its most enjoyable moments were heightened by it’s amateur qualities. I could imagine someone saying “don’t move” while they quickly wound the Bolex again. It was all held together with tape, wire and candle wax, much like the sought after angel wings. I did like the Christ/artist climbing the tall ladder into heaven and returning as if from an attic treasure trunk with the loot. Anyhow, if I seem negative, I should remind myself that this is the film I did vote for.
As for the the Serbian offering, my opinion isn’t mitigated by particulars so much as problems with the modern genre. Fuck horror war movies! The voyeuristic look into stylistic gore and mayhem is so fervently base that retching seems to be the intended objective. Not thought, not discussion, not psychological catharsis, but emotional pornography of the easiest variety. E.T. For grown psychopaths. Did they make a video game of this for the kiddies?
@brotherdeacon (Did they make a video game of this for the kiddies?)
I remember watching it at two birthday parties in my early teens, so, close enough.
Was just reading the comments and noticed I had misspelled Serbia, it certainly wasn’t intentional—my limitations are manifested in many ways.
England (Amelia and the Angel) 0 – Serbia (Pretty Village, Pretty Flame) 1
I’ve had a lot of fun and interest in watching Ken Russells films over the last month namely: The Devils, Mahler, Elgar Monitor and 2002, White Worm, Whore, Crimes of Passion, London Moods, Liztomania, Tommy, Knights on Bikes, Peepshow, Women in Love, Music Lovers, Gothic, Savage Messiah, Louse of Usher, Altered States, Arnold Bax, The Boyfriend and Valentino …and of course Amelia – the guy was a flawed genius but I love him warts and all (White Worm being a particularly pustulent wart Brother :))
He sure got some fine performances from women (the innocence/trust thing maybe?) notably Teresa Russell (no relation) in Whore and Kathleen Turner in Crimes (big whoa to both of them) – I really like what Oxy said (thanks for reading & noting my intro!) about drawing a parallel to the naughty boy whose cinematic wings went into haywire mode in his exuberance to express his emotions and vision, great observation. I really liked Mahler, I hadnt seen that before. Robert Powell and Georgina Hale were terrific together and so sad at the end. I’m grateful to the Cup for bringing Russell to the forefront of my attention again, and encouraging me to revisit his work as I had a ball and saw a number of things I hadn’t previously.
Pretty Village Pretty Flame was pretty good I thought, it’s the first film I’ve seen on the Bosnian/Serbian conflict, I was confused at first with the crisscrossing narrative but then it settled down and I became engrossed in the lock down tunnel drama. Later I read up a lot about the history, I kind of knew the basics but learned a lot more. Of course it was overblown… but it’s clear from the squelchy finger cut onwards, that it is going to be deliberately symbolic of blood, hatred, absurdity of war, man’s inhumanity to man and so forth which is further reinforced by some dark humour. I really appreciated the performances of Fork Velja and Milan. If I wasn’t fondly invested in Amelia I would probalby have voted for this …but I am so I ain’t:).
What an inspired selection by Meg. Meg, thanks to you, a sunbeam entered my ageing heart. Lovely film to represent a country i was hoping Wales would be up against and give a jolly good hiding, six of the best, cold shower and five mile run at dawn to. How foolish i still am! With such a film, as with the wonderful Belgian film Wales is against (against, no, foul thought), the hands of friendship would have been clasped across Offa’s Dyke. The claw of the dragon would have tickled, and its tongue licked, old St George; he would have laid down his bloody lance and seen the error of his ways
I’ve not been a fan of Ken Russell’s later films- after the acclaim for Women in Love, he seemed to immature as he went along- but this is my favourite. Elgar is another gem from his early years. Amelia and the Angel has great charm and vitality- a film’s soul is so important. A match for much of the French New Wave, without pretensions or fanfare. It has mystery and grace and is a terrific little journey. Pretty Village is on an important subject but didn’t deal me the gut-churning blows, grab me, shake me or radically alter my thinking or lead me to explore the subject in depth in the way it may have been aiming for.
a sunbeam entered my ageing heart thanks Kenji!
they get more precious as one gets older, I agree! pleased you found it a treasure as did I, it does have much charm and vitality I agree & can’t but eschew the label “cute”; I think it rises well above cute
You might like Russell’s Mahler, if you haven’t seen it.. reasonably contained except for a couple of dream/symbolic detours, aesthetically pleasing, interesting treatment of the narrative and nice performances…and of course, the music. Avoid Valentino at all costs:):) I hope you have seen his second work on Elgar made in 2002 – really delightful
Am really looking forward to the Belgium/Wales encounter
England (Amelia and the Angel) 0 – Serbia (Pretty Village, Pretty Flame) 1
l must say, l don’t like either of those 2 films. But, since l love shorts, l adore shorts and Amelia didn’t get me at all, my vote is for Serbian film only bec it wasn’t that pale that Amelia was to me. My reasons are probably very wrong (since l’m not voting FOR one film, but AGAINST one), but l guess l just was too disappointed by Amelia
^Why did Amelia disappoint you? not enough sex or violence?; in other words did it feel like kiddy stuff?
no, not at all. it has nothing to do with violence, silence or anything of that sort (and especially with politics). l was afriad that l will be missunderstood and was wondering if l should even vote in this match. l love films with kids a lot (some of them probably more than l should) , and again – with Amelia – just nothing. And l prefer to feel anything (even if that emotion is irritation, and, saying again – l don’t like Pretty Village, Pretty Flame AT ALL, just opposite) than nothing. When l was watching Amelia l didn’t feel anything. l’m sorry again if my reasons seem stupid and wrong (and they probably are), l tried to explain them the best l could. l just don’t want to be missunderstood, in a sence of supporting some shitty propaganda. My votes and anything connected with film is purely subjective and based on my feelings for film, more than anything else (more than “intellectual”). l hope l explained a bit better now.
ok, not silence, sex* nice mistake :p
anyway, you’re right, l shouldn’t take a part in voting anymore, since l can’t “rate” films by some criteria that l should.
I guess a film exposing the absurdity of war that was actually made almost directly in the midst of the conflict is going to invariably get short shrift around here. Actually, the fact that it was made in the midst of the conflict by a Serb is what makes the film particularly controversial but I’ll leave that – the film could be seen as ethically problematic for a variety of reasons but I think its rejection of totalizing logic and binary opposites undermines that interpretation.
But, whatever, it’s just another war movie and war movies are obviously unworthy of discussion. Yeah, I guess some of its motifs have become familiar (the comparisons to Michael Bay are not only baffling but bizarre in the context that this film was made the same year as The Rock). Given what happened, the film is certainly not overblown (unless you want to say, I dunno, Slaughterhouse Five is pretty overblown too). Amelia and the Angel was a nice film but that’s about it but Pretty Village, Pretty Flame is probably the best film about the absurdity of war that I’ve seen. That this is an unworthy topic around here is revealing of narrowmindedness.
please don’t stop voting dirtybee! it’s entirely subjective and dependent on many things what will or won’t “grab” you at various times during life’s great unfurling
it was overblown for me, too, but l believe it has a lot with that l’m from Serbia (from my experience, it’s love-it-or-hate-it film here)
if Šišanje (for exapmple, regarding to Rohit’s comment about violence and sex) was vs Amelia, l would vote for Amelia for sure
is Amelia better film? maybe
do l think that Amelia is THAT better (7-2 before my vote)? l don’t
Damn, I wanted to participate in most matches, but it looks like as I will have to make an effort to watch half the films. Oh, life.
I’m still unsure what to think of Pretty Village, Pretty Flame as a whole, but out of the two films it made me feel the most. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t always like films that make me feel strongly, some disgusting trash can make one feel a lot, but to me those kind of films vanish into the realm of bad memory pretty quickly. Pretty Village, Pretty Flame, though, I think will haunt me for a long time and continue to make me think.
Loved Amelia and the Angel, charming short. But in the end, I’ll go with Pretty Village, Pretty Flame despite having some reservations about it, when I think of its absurdity, the characters, the acting and direction I feel compelled to go with this vote, despite the fact that it made me feel sick (or is that a good thing?).
I made some comments about Amelia and the Angel in the delightful intro thread made by Meg. Thanks so much for your suggestion and passion Meg. I’m glad we have been able to examine and talk about one of your favorite films since you have been such a great contributor to this cup. I’m sorry I was less than enthusiastic about it, but I’ll admit I’m conflicted by my reasons and it may be a problem I have to work through. For instance, from a completely superficial standpoint, I was just totally annoyed with Amelia’s face in all of her closeups for some reason.
I really like Pretty Village, Pretty Flame. Thank you so much for suggesting it Ari, and I don’t think too many people here are adverse to talking about it. I think the only person put off by it to that extent was BrotherDeacon, but I don’t think it’s a quality of the forum as a whole.
Just as my reasons for being less impressed with Amelia and the Angel were superficial, my reasons for liking Pretty Village, Pretty Flame may be somewhat superficial too. I’ve seen a lot of Yugoslav films recently with a dark and violent humor and I have found some kind of affinity for it. But it seems most appropriate because it does seem like the most recent major civil war of sorts in Europe so they have a good claim on the whole absurdidity of war thing for our culture and generation.
I think I might have the recent fascination with these films because I had a landlord who seemed to be funny, and nice, and hip who was from Croatia. He turned out to be totally psychotic and pi-polar and did a lot of aggressive and scary stuff that forced us out of our home. I found out more later that he was involved in Croatia during these times of war and skirmishes and fear and brothers fighting each other. That screwed him up and gave him a kind of permanent paranoia that stayed with him and is still unleashed on people today. I can’t say he didn’t have some other predisposition for mental illness, but how could being involved in war like this not exacerbate the condition?
This film actually ended up dealing with a lot of the same issues the Bosnian film I submitted “No Man’s Land” did. They both examine the role of the media in the conflict as embodied by a woman journalist caught between a bunch of men with guns. But, magpies, I don’t see the detatchment you are speaking of. Each of the characters in Pretty Village, Pretty Flame had their own stories that I found connected us closer to the situation instead of detaching. I guess ultimately what draws in certain viewers may draw other viewers away so opposite labels can be put on the same film.
Also, I loved the music in this film.
DirtyoldBeestard—“anyway, you’re right, l shouldn’t take a part in voting anymore, since l can’t “rate” films by some criteria that l should.”
Perhaps you’re correct, which I don’t say glibly. I too didn’t care for either film, and was voting against one rather than in support of one, a dubious reason to vote. Here in the United States we elect all our politicians in just such a manner—look how well it’s working (need a war, call us). More than once, I’ve been tempted to not vote at all because of conflicting thoughts in judgement when my interest was really a dearth of interest. Not that the films haven’t been of value, they have. But each of us I’ll guess has a public voice and a private one. Again I’ll guess that they’re driven by a more mitigated opinion designed for the public forum, and a more personal (call it purer) opinion for which we have no need to speak. Somewhere between those two is verbal honesty. It’s difficult at times, for me at least, to attempt honesty when I feel forced to chose an option I don’t relish, or even like much, because I can’t put my signature below the one which is anathema to my private thoughts. Unfortunately, I want to participate with this round table of celluloid geeks and opinionated do-nothings (each of us buried under pizza boxes with a palsied claw on our remotes, each in our respective parts of the world), more than I want to remain silent and protect my private honesty. Hence I vote and bluster and wave my verbal Hatachi wand around buzzing all these silly words of debatable worth, all the time wondering if it wouldn’t be better to refrain from voting, or vote them both a zero. They wouldn’t count, of course, but zeros don’t count anyway, they’re fucking zeroes.
Please excuse the diatribe, but DirtyBee, you aren’t the only one with these periodic conundrums. Oh, and never let some jerk with an attitude browbeat you into feeling odd about a vote (even this brotherlydeacon jerk). Apparently, it’s the biggest thrill many of us get and a primary reason we watch hogsheads of films, it’s the geek/bully syndrome—we wouldn’t be here unless it was present in some deformed gene or other. If I’m condescending and hectoring from my pulpit, mea fucking culpa.
and, DirtyoldBeestard ftw ! the best my nickname ever :D