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 The Interview: “Australia (The Interview) 1 – Spain (Fire in Castilla) 0”
If you are voting for Fire in Castilla: “Australia (The Interview) 0 – Spain (Fire in Castilla) 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 Thursday, Friday, June 29 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.
Terribly sorry I haven’t put up an intro thread for The Interview yet. I have been so busy recently, to the point of collapse at many times. I LOVE this film though and hope people will check it out and enjoy it. I’ll try my best to get an intro thread up soon even though the match has started or else, I will try to get back into the topic here to make some comments. Looking forward to making some time to watch Fire in Castilla too. Luckily it’s not too long.
This isn’t quite an introduction thread (I didn’t nominate the film), but I thought some context might be helpful for the Val del Omar film.
There is more biographical information here: Valdelomar.com
José Val del Omar was born in Granada in 1904. He started making films in the 1920s, and came up with numerous ideas for cinematograhic technology, including variable angle lenses, concave screens, technology to add physical texture to the image, and diaphonic sound, which is a precursor to surround sound. It allowed for sound to be used both in front of and behind the spectator, to present a “frontal, physical, acoustic effect of the action… and the counterpoint that excites the spirit and presence of the listener” (Val del Omar’s words). If you can play the film on a television with surround sound, you can reconfigure the speakers to present the sound as intended by adjusting the left-right feeds. The booklet that comes with the box set of his films gives instructions for this.
Fuego en Castilla (1956-59) is the second part of a larger work titled Tríptico elemental de España. The other parts were Acariño galaico and Aguaspejo granadino. There was supposed to be a fourth part concerning Madrid that wasn’t completed due to his death in 1982. Each film links one of the classical elements to a region of Spain, so in this case it connects fire with Castilla, and the others connect earth with Galicia and water with Granada. The other film was to link air with Madrid.
This is the first film he made that used TactilVisión, which is an attempt to allow the viewer to “feel” the image through the use of vibrating light. You get example of this with several of the close-up shots of sculptures. The sculptures used in the film were made by Alonso de Berruguete and Juan de Juni, two Spanish Renaissance-era sculptors. They were filmed in Valladolid.
You can find readings of this film online that indicate a reaction to Franco, though I don’t think there’s enough context in the film to support this idea. It was made during the Franco era, and Val del Omar was friends with many individuals from the left, such as Federico García Lorca and Juan Ramón Jiménez, but he had some supporters in the government, and his technical abilities allowed him success during his life.
Only a handful of the 40+ films that he made are currently available. Juan Ramón Jiménez took some with him to Puerto Rico when he was in exile and others were sent to New York for the Patrons of the Pedagogic Missions, and have gone missing. Many of these films were documentaries that he made for the Pedagogic Missions in Spain, and others he made about friends of his (García Lorca) or cities and regions (Murcia, Cartagena).
The box set produced by Cameo contains all of his films that are currently available, as well as essays, documentaries, and homages to his work. If you have an interest in experimental cinema, I recommend it.
Australia (The Interview) 0 – Spain (Fire in Castilla) 1
I want to thank Brian for providing us a useful context to the film by Jose Val del Omar. Without some context, it would be difficult to appreciate a film such as Fire in Castilla. Like so many of these matches, the submitter is long absent and doesn’t bother to tell us anything about the filmmaker or film, so we need to look it up on our own. In this case, some further explanation of the filmmaker and his work would have been nice, but Brian had to provide it, in absence of the film’s submitter.
Of course, it is really impossible to compare an experimental short with a feature-length film, but this is what we are stuck with, so here goes…
I thought the Spanish film an interesting mixture of overlaying images, providing us a rich blend of Spanish Christian iconography. I could see the reference in the images to death (muerte), first suggested in the Lorca quote at the beginning of the film. I really need to see all the films in the selection provided on the link, having just seen a few before voting, to fully appreciate this filmmaker.
However, based on the example chosen, I’m voting for the Australian police drama, reminding me, with its gritty realism, of an episode of Prime Suspect. The Interview has everyone seemingly operating in opposition to one another and everyone taping everyone else in an endless loop. Thus, it is implied, a possible serial killer gets off due to technicalities and office back-biting. Just a teeny bit contrived (ha!), but the acting held it somewhat together – when the story started to badly slip. So,
Australia (The Interview) – 1 – Spain (Fire in Castilla) – 0
Australia (The Interview) 1 – Spain (Fire in Castilla) 0
I watched The Interview years ago when i was pretty young. It floored me. Perturbed the shit out of me. Brilliant central performance. I admired Fire in Castilla but The Interview is one of the first films to really make a substantial impression on me.
“I’m voting for the Australian police drama, reminding me, with its gritty realism, of an episode of Prime Suspect:
that’s what i didn’t like about it! it felt like a tele-movie!!
haven’t seen Fire in Castilla
Late in coming:
An intro topic for The Interview
Joks, you should watch Fire in Castilla. It’s only 20 minutes long.
Hurray for those who liked The Interview. The Australian likes it which is a good feeling.
I’ll need to see this Prime Suspect show.
Australia (The Interview) – 0 // Spain (Fire in Castilla) – 1
The Interview is very cleverly put together – opening in an oppressive Kafkaesque way and not even hinting that he might be culpable until he all but confesses, then leading us in the opposite direction, and then turning us for one last somersault by the end when the bureaucracy bogs itself down and keels over and the question of whether he’s a serial killer seems almost to recede into the background. I did think it overplayed its hand a little toward the end, but the gravity of Weaving’s sanity carries the film. If he is indeed guilty, he’s a man with no apparent chemical imbalance, miswirings, psychosis, or long-carried trauma. Like many people, he has tendancies. Some bite their nails, some look over both shoulders when crossing the street, some point with their left hand instead of the right, some fidget, some go for daily walks. These aren’t thing we question, and to ask why they do it is just vaguely puzzling. And some people, the film tells us, kill. That’s all there is to it.
But despite its sharp dialogue and slow-burning suspense, the tone of the film didn’t hit me with the same force as that of Fire in Castilla. Nightmarish, claustrophobic, perverse but also wryly comic – and for all that, never irreverent. Tactile is precisely the right word for its pleasures.
Interesting match-up and I’m glad that I managed to finally find the time to watch and vote (I believe the last time was Egg/Forbidden Door).
australia (the interview) 0 – spain (fire in castilla) 1
the australian film also made me think of shows like csi and i expected a commercial with each ‘fade to black’. i enjoy those shows (riss u should definitely check out ‘prime suspect’) but the val del omar made a much bigger impression. i found some more of his work so thanks herbie wherever u are xD
I was very taken with Fire too, the maelstrom imagery of dread, superstition, persecution, the mesmerising strobe affect, quite spooky and “awe-full” with the menace of death and darkness. I was thinking of the randomness of life and choice paralleled in the two films (it’s no mystery, there’s no reason I chose that person to kill it was simply because I could… random images gathered for what purpose, and more to the point, the reason for the acts represented by the images in FIC in human history, horrible acts, for what purpose? who can say, on both counts a deeper reason will have to be imagined and invented by the observer) Fire found form in both films, as suggestive of the everlasting torment in FIC and the culmination of Fleming’s nightmare real or fabricated.
The Interview (yes Kafkaesque as Malkin has noted) I really like a lot though – being Aussie and set in my part of the world I went for that (have seen it before). I also worked for the police for quite a few years, senior detectives doing similar work, men like Steele who truly believed – once Fleming said they’d have to find the body to know what happened Steele was utterly convinced his responsibility was to nail this killer, because to his mind no innocent ordinary person would ever say such a thing, this then gave him themoral impetus to misrepresent what Fleming said, to the Superintendent. The changing nuance in Fleming’s demeanour was cleverly paced first changing about a third of the way in from totally defenseless humble bewildered demoralised to that moment after the solicitor leaves and the cops come back, and he said “you get better all the time” to Steele. Minutes later “you really are a corrupt little man” :)
Steele then becomes so taken in, he’s nauseated to have been in the company of the monster, also the horror to him of there being no reason for it, just random…Fleming could pop up for anyone any time, no reason, he has to go into the bathroom to recover. He knows this of course, he’s a hardened cop and knows people kill for no discernible motive but it still gets to him. Tony Martin was very good as Steele and Hugo Weaving pitch perfect throughout. Right at the end we still don’t know – is he having a chuckle because he’d gotten a slap up meal and had a bit of fun taking the piss…or was he really a clever psychopath who “knew the drill” in theory from his alluded to research, had thought long and hard about it, and then had the chance to act out his fantasy – escaping the clutches of the law.
i thought of keyser soze haha. what’s with all the crime films from down under? the square, animal kingdom, snowtown… nick cave shoulda been in this. fwiw i didn’t think he was guilty but it was a bit murky. are they suggesting the courts go too far in protecting the rights of defendants? better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer – blackstone’s ratio
Happy to see Malkin in the fold once again.
Wow, Fire in Castilla is amazing! No time to comment right now though
@Ruby —are they suggesting the courts go too far in protecting the rights of defendants?
Ruby, It does seem that way, but on the other hand, the audience is left with much that is left unsaid. The Ethics Committee people still have evidence which implicates the erstwhile killer (Fleming), but will they use it? Seems that if they use it against the rogue cop (Steele), it will also be open for the courts to act against the Hugo Weaving character. Or, the rogue cop will use his covertly taped evidence of the Ethics Department’s chief investigator’s threats to free himself from departmental shackles and be able to open the case once again with evidence. And we can’t forget that the journalist is going to use evidence to write a story implicating the entire police force in setting free a serial killer, causing a 1950’s style mob scene with torches and Bibles being thrown through the police station windows. Or, Fleming goes free due to procedural in-fighting on the part of the cops. Or, Fleming wasn’t guilty at all, and his mugging grins at the end were just loose bowel syndrome. Or the killings were actually carried out by the Ethics Department investigator, who seems perhaps the slimiest. Or the loose canon brute cop meets Fleming at the newspaper stand and kills him, by taking justice into his own hands. Or Hugo Weaving sets up house with the Deceased Man’s wife in order for both of them to pool their small financial resources in these times of economic upheaval, showing the unsavory measures each of us must embrace at Capitalism’s down-turn. Or I hire Fleming to hunt down the man who wrote the gooey film score and give him the old heave-ho from this mortal ship of fools. The acting, as noted, was good, but what effect it was actually attempting is somewhat opaque, or perhaps not really thought out very well. Hugo Weaving’s Fleming can join the other highly touted serial killer roles which good actors seem to love. Good directing in that it was tight, methodical, well-covered. A professional piece of business.
haha wow you’ve considered every angle. i’d forgotten the newspaper guy. and i admit i had a lil trouble with the accents :\ i like the theory that the ethics investigator is the real killer xD
riss are u here? this match should be closed. and it’s a tie
edit: ok it’s been almost 30 mins and riss isn’t here so i will close this match. i don’t have a plan for opening the next one but i suppose it can wait right? hope nothing’s happened to riss
final score 4 all
I’m so sorry folks. Things have been happening to me. Nothing harmful, just taking me away from being able to focus on anything but the immediate. Thank so so much for ending the match for me.
no prob riss, i’m just glad you’re ok! i was worried :\
If I died, there’s no contingency plan for finishing out this cup… Maybe I should write up the future matches and mail the envlope to someone here I trust who could open it in the event of my death.
That reminds me I’ve been remiss in posting any new matches lately. Again, I apologize. Very busy. Have guests in town this weekend. Hopefully will get some time tomorrow evening to catch up on things.
riss if it’s a problem for u just send me a note; i’m usually home by the closing/opening time or soon after
most important: don’t stress out!!!!!!!! it’s not that big a deal
and if u die we’ll call it the risselada memorial cup :)
Oh thank you so much Ruby.
I’m trying not to stress about it. I have enough other things to stress about. ;)
If I die, I want some of my ashes scattered in every single country competing in the cup.
umm ok we’ll see what we can do :p