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 Heaven and Earth: “Austria (Heaven and Earth) 1 – Croatia (Satiemania) 0”
If you are voting for Satiemania: “Austria (Heaven and Earth) 0 – Croatia (Satiemania) 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, May 27 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.
Austria (Heaven and Earth) 1 – Croatia (Satiemania) 0
Himmel und Erde (sounds like an epic by Syberberg) required some perseverance and patience to get through because of its length, however, it was worth it in the end. Maybe we learned more than we ever cared to know about life in this village, high up in the Tyrolian Alps. This is a land where time seems in some ways to have stood still, where everyone knows everyone else going back generations. One almost expects the villagers to break into spontaneous yodeling or folk dancing. But Pilz is far too clever to just give us a travelogue, picture postcard view. We see life in its day to day nitty-gritty, its almost monotonous routine.
Inspite of the encroachments of modern life, the villagers still retain a sense of old-fashioned, almost quaint community – at least, when this film was made. What kept my interest was the great photography, seeing the town in all its seasons, the amazing sense of a place captured in time – and the kids. I have a fascination with Austrian culture and the alpine lifestyle (where did I put my lederhosen?), so this film filled the bill. I believe the film is summed-up in its coda near the end: Only he who climbs the mountain’s peak can look into the remotest distance. Indeed!
Nice to get a colorful take on Satie’s music (heard some of his in a different context also in Limite), which perfectly matched the light mood of the animation in Satiemania. Another plus after the long Austrian film – this one was short!
I enjoyed both – thanks for the selections.
This is another match in this cup where the sheer difference in length of the two films puts the animation at a clear disadvantage.
Heaven and Earth : Other than the narrators voice over and the slow motion segments, there were several things to like about this film. The farmers went about their daily routine and almost always had a smile on their face. Whether ploughing the field with a horse or a tractor, fixing tools in the shed or going to the city to buy seeds or meeting their fellow farmers, they always seemed to be positive about their existence. The only sorrow was perhaps that their children weren’t too keen to follow their footsteps. This is a film that celebrates the joys and sorrows of the farmer in that Austrian village rather than fetishize his existence or hardship. This is where this film scores over several of the other films we have seen in this cup.
Satiemania – Interesting animation. I wish there was an intro thread for this.
A little over eight hours to go in this match
VOTING IS CLOSED
Austria (Heaven and Earth) – 2
Croatia (Satiemania) – 1
The winner is:
Land of mountains, land by the stream,
Land of fields, land of cathedrals,
Land of hammers, with a promising future,
Home to great daughters and sons,
A nation highly blessed with beauty,
No disrespect, but Austria’s eagle looks like either Heckle or Jeckle after being in a Terry-Tune dynamite explosion. Is now a good time to mention that we had 3 voters in this match—that not even the submitters showed-up to vote or shake pom-poms? If it wasn’t for Kuxa, there’d be very few films available for future matches. There are lots of understandable reasons, but this week alone we watched Romania’s Palms, one amazing film indeed (IMHO), so the films are here, where are the film lovers? Too many 6 hour documentaries on mold growth? Too many guys submitting films from countries they can’t even spell or pronounce? Has the thread taken on the smell of dried semen in unwashed shorts? Too serious? Too pedestrian? Not serious enough? No explicit slasher factor? Need more Justin Timberlake vehicles? Has Riss bribed all of you so that his marriage will stay intact? Hmmmm.
hahaha, yeah those feathers look pretty unruffled and the beak and tongue look a bit chipped away and cancerous.
Wow – almost no one wanted to sit though a nearly 5 hour film about a farming village in Austria??? Shocking! What a bunch of WC whimps. Maybe a lesson here about the ‘popularity’ of long films – esp. if the submitters don’t tell us why they chose it or why they want others to devote the necessary time to view them. Oh, well – glad I saw these, anyway. Maybe a short film Cup is the best way to go for another version of this, as the short film lost by just one vote against this documentary monster (ha!).
We had no comments/votes from any of the submitters of these two films, either. Where are they? Seems this event is playing to a pretty small crowd after all the hard work done by Riss and those downloading these films for us, which is really a shame on a site with supposedly a couple hundred thousand film fanatics.
Where’s the rest of the mubi WC peanut gallery – at the Water Closet?
sorry, i’ve had a terrible week. there was literally no way to cram a 5 hr film in. i will be back in the near future. this is a pretty sad turn out :(
I don’t know about you guys, but I especially relish the opportunity of watching long films streaming for free because it’s usually impossible to buy them here and downloading is a downright pain. So unless I have a problem with my net connection, I would make sure that I watch such films.
BrotherDeacon – as you were the only other person to vote, and haven’t commented on either film yet, do you have anything to say about either film? I always enjoy what you do have to say, in any case.
It’s OK, Ruby. You have been a more than welcome active participant in this. I saw H&E when first acessing the blog, so time wasn’t an issue. I also can’t vote on every match, but did enjoy this one. Too bad so few did! Also, seems we have lost a few regulars along the way. Hopefully, others can join in so that we can get more than just 3 voting. Not sure why Wu Yong (who submitted H&E) made no comments, for example, as he usually has lots to say.
@Oxy, I often vote without any explanation because I’m slow in watching both competitors and want to make sure I vote before it closes, never being quite sure of the timing of such things here in L.A. Then, it takes me quite a while to see what ideas I have about the films. Sometimes no ideas at all. I wait for the writing to bring out those ideas, which I ascribe to the E.M. Forster quote, “How can I know what I mean until I see what I say,”
Heaven and Earth seemed about as generic a documentary as the title. Other than its length, I found it less than noteworthy, and length alone is a poor calibrator of a film’s value. At first, I teetered between thinking that some story might emerge or not (yes, documentaries often have stories, or patterned tensions and architecture, unique and identifiable characters etc.) perhaps the guys with Hitleresque face hair and knee-high socks might moonlight as a punk band, who knows. So I waited, but then the hours rolled. We felled trees, drank a few pilsners and bocks, sawed slabs, puffed hand-made pipes, used tractors, talked about tractors, used horses, talked about horses, the farmers and town’s folk looking ill at ease with the camera (not a treat for over 5 hours of footage), we did the chores, we went to town, we shopped, we hit the high-life such as it was, someone dug out the accordian, we worked with wood, we killed and drained hogs, children acted like children, mothers and grandmothers kept house, sowed clothing, people smiled, some frowned, discussions were edited together (farming vs industry jobs for wages), we had a Christian holiday with ceremonial festivities, we listened to the radio, we watched people walk down a snow covered road, watched them drive down a snow covered road, watched them work a horse cart down a snow covered road. Along the way we saw hundreds of rural beauty scenes, like running snapshots. I don’t mean to overly imply its tediousness, but it certainly veered upon it. About the most I can say for Heaven and Earth, is that it employed professional use of camera coverage and editing, although that in itself has little value either. No, I could ascertain nothing extraordinary about it. I could expect to see it on any small market television program of regional docs. That it was chosen to be featured in many film festivals during its release year seems more a quirky interest in detailed non-fiction films on the part of critics 30 years ago, than any interest I have in the National Geographic subject matter, or the no-frills, blue collar, work-a-day film making process (especially when it draws attention to itself). I’ve heard the director was feted and cheered at the Berlin festival this year, but that of itself means little as well. Included in my myopia in missing some of this film’s amazingly original techniques or ways of making scintillating statements through the medium of film, could be that my viewing of it was very close on the heels to viewing a similar documentary last week in this competition from Wales. Perhaps not as long, but concerned with rural ways of life doomed to disappear in our modern world. We also had similar staples of farmers, horses, dogs, children, livestock (we traded sheep for pigs), churches, community meetings, cultural loss, lots of natural beauty backgrounds and more cloud shots than even Terrance Malick would train his camera upon at the North Pole. If Aphex Twins was around 30 years ago, there’s no telling what sound track similarities may have been used. Don’t mean to be snarky, but it was a tepid, very usual film. That being said, what was the music in the town store being played, kind of early 80’s German rock. Anyone know the bands?
On the other hand, I loved Zdenko Gasparovic’s Satiemania. It seemed infectiously joyful in creating artful animated characters and syncing their dance-like movement to the different emotional timbres within each piece of Erik Satie on audio track. I found it slight, but squeezing every drop of joviality out of that thinness. Even the portraits of taciturn women smoking cigarettes gave a feeling of 1920’s “dying swan” ennui played for sympathetic modeling to the music. Many of its techniques seemed like nascent workings, some of which became very familiar in the years to follow, but in 1978 these were original ideas. Perhaps I was inspired to see hand made drawings shot frame by frame by a team of animators, working with a degree of finite perfection in view, as opposed to Michael Pilz’s view of film’s infinite process being espoused in Heaven and Earth’s long length, slow pacing, and leisurely lack of thematic focus. Satiemania tickled some funny bone or other—a rare treat in the Cup choices lately.
I just watched Satiemania. The music is quite infectious. I’ll have to check out more of it. It was interesting to see the different themes the filmmaker chose to go along with the different songs. Some of them seemed to fit and some were a bit of a surprise.
The first section was about walking! And such a variety of walking. Walking I think is one of the most fundamental but difficult things to draw and animate. It’s probably the thing animators have to draw the most often so I’m sure they labor over it, yet it’s something that involves so many parts of the body. And here we get such a fun huge variety. Not only do the characters look different but the drawing style and format all seem very different. Let’s celebrate animation and the variety of every day people moving this says to me!
The next section I would call “ripples”. It seemed to show what people or things looked like through or reflected on water. Again water is quite a difficult thing to draw, so it seems like another exercise of the animator trying to show off his skills. It was culminated with actual people floating on top of and rippling with the water.
The next section was about a kind of sensual sexuality, although at the end it morphs into a kind of drug addled sensuality, and maybe even a combination of all types of sensuality with the halucinations of the pleasures of eating turning into something grotesque before the person just sinks away into nothing.
Next we get a lively and destructive barrage of violence that mixes the kind of unrealistic and silly violence you see in cartoons with something that seems like it’s starting to go over the edge of letting you sense some real disturbing pain. But it’s hard not to have fun with it along with the uptempo song. It finishes quite oddly. Is the man walking off into the stars supposed to be a kind of sense of victory? The winner in a boxing match of violence?
The last section baffles me. I couldn’t figure out what the clear cohesion was here. Maybe some kind of dispondency that comes after an unsatisfying longing? Anyone have any ideas?