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 A Woman’s Case: “Israel (A Woman’s Case) 1 – Thailand (Blissfully Yours) 0”
If you are voting for Blissfully Yours: “Israel (A Woman’s Case) 0 – Thailand (Blissfully Yours) 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, June 17 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.
Israel (A Woman’s Case) – 1 – Thailand (Blissfully Yours) – 0
OK, I’ll put in an early vote, giving the nod to Katmor. I know there is a lot of Joe W. love on Mubi (all deserved, too), so just wanted to thank Kuxa for finding this rare Israeli gem. Totally different than any Israeli film I’ve seen. Katmor re-invents Paris in Tel Aviv. Kuxa has given us the background on this film in his intro thread, so I’ve commented there. Some great images in A Woman’s Case, especially the contrast of the older ladies at the beginning with the young models later. Very interesting editing, too. The frenetic pace and nice late 60’s soundtrack made this a fun film to watch – until the end, of course (typical of those downer endings from that period). The film had Godard written all over it, but was very original, too, in terms of flashing, kaleidoscopic imagery. The moving subtitles were annoying at first, but then seemed to fit right into the joint (pun intended) is jumpin’ atmosphere.
So glad to finally get the opportunity to see Blissfully Yours – thanks for this! It is one of Weerasethakul’s best of those I’ve seen. Some transcendent and beautiful cinematography, especially in the jungle scenes. The film seemed so languorous and natural in its flow, almost hypnotic, at times. A bit slow moving at the beginning (with W.‘s signature doctor exam scene – ha!), but it really came to life in those romantic, perfectly done, jungle scenes. I guess our lovers, old and new, got the same ’jungle fever’ we saw in A Woman in a Whirlpool.
Two great films, but I’m going for the late 60’s eroticism over the more slow-moving 21st Century version (which was very subtlely handed by W.). Besides, this coming summer, I’m all ready to re-invent the late acid Sixties – got my rock records from the period, my love beads, just need the black light posters, and I’m good. This Israeli film got me in the mood.
I hope this match gets the attention it deserves. Now, I really need to see Tropical Malady …
Israel (A Woman’s Case) 1 – Thailand (Blissfully Yours) – 0
I’m genuinely curious how the subtitles on A Woman’s Case ended up as they did. Was it released originally with English subs? The music was great, and the images were fun. I can see them getting on someone’s nerves, but I had quite a bit of fun with the visual effects. The film’s treatment of women, and particularly women’s bodies, is troublesome, in particular as the film seems on one hand to want to critique the way the characters look at and deal with women, and on the other hand allows the camera to essentially continue to gaze and gaze some more. Based on Kuxa’s introduction to the film, this seems to be Katmor’s way of looking at women as well.
I think I’m the only one on the site that doesn’t love Weerasethakul’s films. Some CCC works very well for me, but the three of his that I’ve seen haven’t clicked for me at all. There’s something there that I can’t connect with, and it makes it feel like form overtaking content.
The film’s treatment of women, and particularly women’s bodies, is troublesome
I would agree with Brian’s critique. It is the objectification of the model, a sort of fetishizing (not necessarily in a good way) of the female body, that really dates the film. We have to recall how so many filmmakers, good and bad, would hone in on women’s bodies during the Sixties. Think of Julie Christie in Darling, Monica Vitti and the models in Blow-Up in Antonioni’s Sixties films, Godard and Anna Karina (and others), Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda in Barbarella. There is a fine line between admiration of female beauty (of which there should be nothing wrong) and exploitation. Sometimes, in the Sixties, these lines were blurred.
We really don’t find out much about either the ad executive or the model in this film. It is a series of sometimes striking images, but not that much else. I think this makes it quite typical of its time. What isn’t typical (and makes the film interesting to me) is the way the director montages the images in a highly creative way. Can’t recall another film to compare to it.
It took me awhile to warm to Weerasethakul’s style (and considerable reading) to get at what he was doing. Mysterious Object at Noon was my first film and I really couldn’t understand the excitement. Then, watching Syndromes and a Century, studying the closing shots, converted me.
What did people think of the sex scenes in Blissfully Yours? I’m always conflicted by sex scenes in films, not because I’m a prude, but because they seldom seem natural to me. The French seem the best at this, but I thought Weerasethakul handled the scenes with some discretion and they didn’t feel exploitive. However, some may see them differently. To me, they were natural, capturing an intimate moment without overwhelming it – or making it pornographic.
Forgive me if I am over-commenting. I am interested in starting a dialogue, not in ending it. I’ll await the votes and comments of others.
If any of our female commenters should like, I would be interested in their perspective on either film – esp. re the exploitive factor.
Israel (A Woman’s Case) 0 – Thailand (Blissfully Yours) 1
Easy decision. I found A Woman’s Case quite tiresome, yes very French, arty and fetishising, seemingly unsure if wanting to be cool or critical, but effectively neither. Blissfully Yours is my favourite by Joe, reminiscent of Rohmer and Renoir in its warm, fresh, lyrical and sensual outing, in a place far removed from clinical science. It’s a green, sensitive film, revelling not only in nature but also in the splendour of a male member held by a young woman with an expression never found in Hollywood or porn.
If any of our female commenters should like, I would be interested in their perspective on either film – esp. re the exploitive factor
i’d seen both these films a while ago, so i’m not sure if there’s a point to me voting….but i…….loathe…..a woman’s case (for the record, i’d just like to point out that me and kuxa do have some common ground, even if this cup makes it seem otherwise)….and brian already explained why: The film’s treatment of women, and particularly women’s bodies, is troublesome, in particular as the film seems on one hand to want to critique the way the characters look at and deal with women, and on the other hand allows the camera to essentially continue to gaze and gaze some more
katmor wants to have his cake and eat it too. he’s welcome to it. although it makes me sad that this happens to be the only film i’ve ever seen that references hans bellmer and unica zurn. (for 60’s israeli film, i’ve seen a lovely lovely lovely little short film, perlov’s in jerusalem, which to me seems more varda than godard)
and blissfully yours is just yummy. i’ve never seen sunlight so….sunny….
yummy- and that’s cos Joe’s soul is in the film. There are directors whose long takes seem artificial and self-serving, not Joe— intelligent and sensitive without pretensions. The appreciation of the male body struck me at once as unusual, and that shouldn’t be simply a matter of sexual orientation. And it comes naturally, not from an intellect stuck in “male gaze” issues or “hey look at me, i’m a master of minimalist contemplation”. There’s the best side of Rohmer, i was thinking at first of Claire’s Knee- but this is more balanced than the predatory egotistical male in the Rohmer, closer to a likeable couple in My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, or Delphine finding her soul-mate in The Green Ray (though Delphine isn’t one for an explicit sex scene.). Or the idyllic moments- Georges d’Arnoux and Sylvia Bataille- in Renoir’s A Day in the Country
Yes, the Israeli film wants its cake and eat it- it could be construed as a satire on vapid soulless exploitation if not stuck up its own artfulness. 2 films that both can be compared to French ones, but with very different approaches, one warm, one cold.
for the record, i’d just like to point out that me and kuxa do have some common ground, even if this cup makes it seem otherwise
Ha ha yes we definitely have some common ground Magpies, but I can understand why A Woman’s Case does not appeal to everyone. The film’s treatment of women’s bodies I guess could be perceived as troublesome, but I didn’t really get the feeling that Katmor was goig out of his way to be dirty or smutty. I think he held the female form in great wonder and was just expressing his love for them. Maybe that is exploititive but then Antonioni, Godard, Alain Robbe Grillet, Borowczyk, Jess Franco are all guilty as well, the last two names especially so!
I like Blissfully yours, but with every film I feel Weerasethakul has bettered himself and therefore this earlier film doesn’t seem to possess the weight of his later output.
Israel (A Woman’s Case) 1 – Thailand (Blissfully Yours) 0
>>The film’s treatment of women, and particularly women’s bodies, is troublesome, in particular as the film seems on one hand to want to critique the way the characters look at and deal with women, and on the other hand allows the camera to essentially continue to gaze and gaze some more. Based on Kuxa’s introduction to the film, this seems to be Katmor’s way of looking at women as well.<<
Brian pretty much summed up what I wanted to say about A Woman’s Case. It reminded me of Bamboozled in that sense that it became the very thing it was critcizing.
Blissfully Yours proved a much more rewarding viewing experience and it prompted me to dig further into Joe’s filmography and discover gems like Tropical Malady, Syndromes and a Century and Uncle Boonmee, all of which I actually liked better than Blissfully Yours. Still, you could see the seeds of those films planted here. The story is touching and Joe’s vision of the natural world is singular.
I was interested to read about Katmor- an avant-garde rarity amid the c/Conservatism of Israel is fine by me. We may take such things for granted and not appreciate the cultural situation, and i don’t wish to be too harsh. It’s just that after a promising start and even if expressing love of the female form the film didn’t do much for me.
“I’m genuinely curious how the subtitles on A Woman’s Case ended up as they did”
don’t know but it’s something to do with that particular rip – I couldn’t watch them! I didn’t mind the sliding about but half the dialogue was below screen so I downloaded it from KG and they seem fine (have only watched ten minutes). Loving Blissfully Yours, perhaps not in Boonmee’s class but still great. Hope I get time to finish these two over the weekend.
Israel (A Woman’s Case) – (0) vs. Thailand (Blissfully Yours) – (1)
Sadly, I couldn’t pass the credit title sequence from ‘A Woman’s Case’; something definitely wrong with the rip. It looks like a lovely match though, and ‘Blissfully Yours’ is definitely my favourite Apichatpong.
I established through experimentation that the subs distorted through the upload process for some reason, as I said I downloaded it and the file was perfect… but when I uploaded it to yt thinking i’d share the new download, I had exactly the same distortion happen!
Didn’t have the required time/patience to give Blissfully Yours its due and would have to watch it again to appreciate its many moments of somnolent repose. Nevertheless without Kuxa’s great intro I would probably have chosen it …but in light of that fascinating background provided into the director of AWC, the film took on a revealing creepy most interesting psychological commentary/extension of a man clearly conflicted and tormented in escalating fashion throughout his life, craving ever more desperately validation and meaningful contact but apparently always finding this out of reach, unable to fill the burden of existential void via distraction through excess, palpable confusion about women, being unable to reconcile the splitting of self in the objectification, loathing, needing, adoring of their “cases” (manifesting here finally in his character killing a beautiful woman) ultimately descending into a more and more meaningless existence while blaming his partner and long term female “accomplice in dissolution” for his failure to reach his full creative potential.
Blissfully Yours is the least impressive of the films i’ve seen of Joe’s. I don’t get what’s so great and beautiful about it. That long take at the beginning of the film was really forced and tiresome to me, but i know most don’t agree with me on that. However, i must also admit that my aesthetic preference is for the ‘dark’ and ‘murky’ i guess, and i don’t find shots of nature all that interesting really, at least not in broad daylight anyway.
so yeah, i’m voting against him in this round
Wow the Israeli film was so bad. One of the worst films I’ve seen in a while. Like a double major in philosophy and art history saw Memories of Underdevelopment, La jetée, Breathless and Blow Up all in the same weekend and figured “Oh, this looks easy”; “I want to make an edgy hip sexy film with all my Bohemian friends but it has to be art too so I have to like say it’s all bad and stuff in the end”… kind of reminded me of the performance artists of the era who spoke extensively on the male gaze and the objectification of the female body while prancing around naked in provocative poses. I’m actually glad the subtitles crapped out, a few less platitudes about beauty by way of some cringe-inducingly shitty Godardian banter. Blissfully Yours… not as good as Syndromes, Uncle B or Tropical Malady but still great. As usual Weerasethakul is doing his best impression of a French film director and succeeding.
^^ Ha ha… I did say this film was a divider!!
Less than 1/2 hour left i think. I was getting my British Summer Time (an hour ahead) muddled with GMT. This will have been a big surprise to me if Israel win. But Kuxa’s effort with the write-up will have been rewarded
@oxy I thought the sex in BY was used to good effect to convey information about the relationships/motivations of Orn and her “bit on the side”, and Min and Roong. The former were easy in each other’s company no “coying” around the place like the other two, straight into the business at hand and appeared regulars, genuinely close and in tender communion. Orn the older quite plain female is shown as having a real companion, while the younger more nubile woman does not. There was nothing subtle about the ”humping” scene, and I felt it did quite “overwhelm the moment” it felt voyeuristically overlong with no context outside of “we are now going to watch two people humping for however many seconds” – no problem with gratuitous sex but of the two films I would say that was the only time sex felt to me laboriously used. The exchanges between Min and Roong were used to convey that they weren’t past the initial stages of sexual engagement, he was shown as physically and emotionally unavailable, he’s bothered by his painful flaky skin problem, she is wanting to connect and feels rejected, she “imposes orgasm” on him really, then later manipulates him while he lies seemingly disengaged and inert, in a gender reversal their exchanges might have seemed quite predatory, I might have found myself thinking “leave her alone mate, she’s not fucking interested” but there’s an underlying assumption one can easily ( sometimes erroneously) make that it is acceptable for a woman to sexually pester a man and that he is not going to be importuned or adversely affected by that.
Orn’s weeping was very moving, no doubt near the water making her think of her drowned child. Not sure what directly preceded that as went to sleep for a few minutes and was too lazy to rewind.
I didn’t experience AWC as exploitative, I just saw it as an observation of what is, some disturbing imagery, I think you have to try to place yourself back in time a bit when watching it, the interesting thing to me was his psyche, his internal struggle, the imagery was implied to be his great bank of female visual content through his fetishism and/or work, it also tried to comment on death and the transitory nature of things, “how can you keep anything” he asks, the road accident, his observation on the first person he saw dead was the Egyptian soldier, had his mind been unhinged by war, he wants to connect to something good, “you forgot her face”, challenges the woman “she is just an object to you” knowing he is seeing himself in that, her youth and vibrancy snuffed out so effortlessly and ending up on a cold slab, a reasonably interesting narrative was developing in wondering after he slashes the picture, just what was this guy up to (was the woman in the bed already dead I wondered after..) it was mostly coldly at a distance without eroticism and as I said I found it interesting in the context of Katmor the man. also it was easier to watch with normal subs as I watched my download and not from the blog, their dialogue was revealing in places
i actually don’t think I would have persevered with the other
anyone know what these things were?
Don’t know where Riss is but this match is now closed…6-5 Israel
Well Im very surprised at the result!!! I’m very happy that some people gave A Woman’s Case a chance. I definitely think this type of film does benefit from some type of context seeing as it is pretty much unknown in cinematic circles, adding to that Katmor’s sad extraordinary life.
Thanks for your female insight into the film. I’d hate to see the film labelled as sexist or exploitative and your observations on the film were most welcome :)
Sorry folks, time got away from me…
VOTING IS CLOSED
Israel (A Woman’s Case) – 6
Thailand (Blissfully Yours) – 5
The winner is:
As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards the ends of the east,
An eye still gazes toward Zion;
Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
A tight win against a formidable foe, congratulations!
I am really looking forward to the remaining picks from Israel which will definitely be comig from other users if my memory is correct. Israeli cinema is criminally overlooked and what is out there often deals with war and Palestine. Names like Mizrahi, Gitai, Kishon, Perlov, Mograbi, Zohar and David Volach are really not familiar names on this site and deserve more exposure.
Thanks, Meg, for answering in good faith & detail a rather loaded & tricky question.
it felt voyeuristically overlong with no context outside of “we are now going to watch two people humping for however many seconds.
I kind of feel that way for any ‘gratuitous’ sex scenes that so many filmmakers now feel they ‘must’ put in (sorry – ‘put in’ is maybe a poor choice of words…). For me, sex should remain a private and intimate act – not a ‘spectator sport’. When we have reached the age of discretion, we shouldn’t need to see what goes on, as our imagination should be able to fill-in the blanks. If we want sex as a ‘spectator sport’, there are lots of exhibitionistic porn-stars within easy access on the internet. If sex were a ‘spectator sport’, surely it would be in the olympics, with thousand watching the ‘humping’ couples from the grandstands and cheering them on. Fortunately, it is not.
We don’t need to see Nick and Nora ‘at it’ in the bedroom (or wherever) in the Thin Man series. Wouldn’t make the series any better or add anything to their wicked banter. Mind you, if there were an x-rated Thin Man, then the ‘action’ would mainly consist of loud snoring, considering all the alchohol they are consuming on-screen – and very little ‘performance’, at all.
Can’t believe Katmor beat the King of Mubi. The Notebook people must be in shock. If Joks, LocalDjango, and other commenters are right, we have just had the Israeli art-house wool pulled over our eyes. Cunning Katmor and more kunning Kuxa! Since the subtitles were flipping around, I found AWC mostly a non-dialogue film.
Not sure what that picture is about, Meg: An Israeli version of the chastity belt? (Don’t remember the scene or context). Thanks for the comments, all.
“, I might have found myself thinking “leave her alone mate, she’s not fucking interested” but there’s an underlying assumption one can easily ( sometimes erroneously) make that it is acceptable for a woman to sexually pester a man and that he is not going to be importuned or adversely affected by that.”
Telling comment Meg ;-)
it hasn’t happened to me if that’s what you mean, but I have encountered men struggling in silence with this situation in a professional capacity – (not something they’re going to tell their mates at the pub:))
@oxy I think it must have something to do with weight loss or detox. it popped up amongst all that medical physio type stuff….so weird, I really want to know what those machines are!
“it hasn’t happened to me if that’s what you mean”
Nope! it’s more about the general social attitude, that’s all.