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 Julio Begins in July: “Chile (Julio Begins in July) 1 – Turkey (The Horse) 0”
If you are voting for The Horse: “Chile (Julio Begins in July) 0 – Turkey (The Horse) 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, July 5 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.
Another very close horse race between two fine fillies – sorry for the play on words with one of the titles. Both films involve a young boy coming of age, discovering their sexuality through induction by prostitute, and having a complicated bond with their father. Both are devastating critiques of their society and the class system in each. Both involve an ‘art-house’ approach of closely observed scenes, a bit of symbolism, and both have an end that is tragic for both the boys. The boys learn the hard way about the forces at work in the societies around them – one from a position of privilege, one from a position at rock bottom.
Julio Begins in July deals with the top of its society – the aristocracy rotten to the core. Julio naturally assumes he will succeed his father as the ruling patriarch of a vast ranch with many hangers-on. But he finds his role is much, much more constricted than he thought. Nice camerawork here, with this world and era captured in loving, vibrant detail. The shots of the various Christian images and the portrait of Christ, the nuns fluttering about looking after the old lady, imply a spiritual reality that is mocked by the very worldly actions of this wealthy family – whose richs makes them beyond reproach seemingly. Julio’s initial furtive rendezvous with the young prostitute he admires, as he ‘captures’ her in an abandoned hut, are magical. We see in these brief, idyllic scenes a young love that is soon to be doomed by all the forces from above that want to squash it.
The befuddled teacher is done for comic relief and well-played as the only person who can tell the truth to the patriach. Julio begins as the beloved boy, heir to the kingdom, but is left at the end of the film a betrayed, trapped, bitter young man in a society that is all superficial gloss and illusion.
The Horse was another well-crafted film, being an effective neo-realist portrayal of the consequences of poverty in the Turkey of its day. The film shows us a heartless city indulging in its new-found affluence and Western-style consumerism, with the citizens of Istanbul seeing the poor struggling for a living as a great nuisance. With homelessness rampant throughout the Western world, this film felt very contemporary of how the poor are often shunned and left to their own pitiful resources.
All the rural tenant farmer is asking for is an education for his young son, maybe a horse, and a way to make a living. None of this is provided for him, as the government bureaucracy makes it clear he is worth more to his son dead than alive – setting up the resultant tragedy. The Horse is like the best Italian neo-realist films it is modelled on. Some interesting filmming, such as when the father imagines his son – now with the education he expects for him – as the nasty bureaucrat or the irritated man driving the expensive car. In these imaginings, he sees his son not as a grown-up, but as he now is – still a young boy. We know at the end why these scenes take on a bitter irony. The mad woman wandering the streets is the only person who is allowed to speak the truth. The initiation into sex by the blind woman was brutal. This director takes no prisoners
It’s hard to decide, but I’m voting for the father who sacrifices himself for his son over the father who cuckolds his.
Chile (Julio Begins in July) 0 – Turkey (The Horse) 1
Two very good films. I hope we get some more votes. Thanks for finding these gems for us.
Chile (Julio Begins in July) 1 – Turkey (The Horse) 0
One of the few outstanding films produced under the Pinochet’s dictatorship was Silvio Caiozzi’s Julio comienza in Julio. Those were bad times in Chilean cinema: Raul Ruiz exiled, La batalla de Chile forbidden, the national film industry and supportive arts organizations in Chile, once highly dependent on state funding during Popular Unity, severely damaged by its elimination. It was shot (in B/W, being transferred later to sepia) for very little money in 1976, three years after the coup, but it is set in 1917 against the historical background of the aristocratic, conservative and decadent upper classes (what some has seen as a hidden metaphor for the current regime).
In Caiozzi’s own words:Well, when Pinochet started ruling the country, one of the first things he did was to stop a law that promoted films. Actually, he did not stop it, what happened is that the law ended and it was supposed to be renewed and he did not renew it, and therefore it was stopped. So we, the filmmakers, did not get any help at all. On the contrary, I would say that we were looked upon as enemies. Therefore, the filmmakers stayed in Chile and we ended up doing commercials. I was very lucky in that I had a big success and made some money making commercials. But I kept the money, and saved it to be able to make a feature length picture because that’s what I really wanted to do. I was associated with two other guys and they also wanted to make a feature film. So we saved money for several years making commercials like mad and finally we made this 16 mm black and white film called July Starts in July (Julio comienza en julio). And then we blew it up to a 35 mm “cyclotron” type of film. And it was a huge success in Chile. Nobody expected a thing like that. The film won the first price at the Huelva Film Festival, outside Chile, and was chosen for the filmmaker’s fortnight at Cannes. It became a huge success in Chile, and it was a very weird moment because it was released in 1979. In those years Pinochet’s regime promoted a culture that was anti-Chilean. At first everything that felt Chilean was bad and everything that seemed to be American was excellent. So, I was fighting against that mentality. Reporters in Chile saw the film and they loved it and they knew that people were against Chilean films. There were practically no Chilean films, very few, maybe one a year. Then all of a sudden they saw this film, they loved it and started doing a campaign in the newspapers saying “you’ve got to see this film!” because they wanted the people to see a Chilean movie. Then the film received all the awards and it was big news. And even with the awards, for the first three days of release the film was a flop. Nobody went to see it. Even though the reporters had been talking about it for a month, very few people went to see the film. The distributor said they were going to remove the film from the theatres. And then on the third day, people started going because of word of mouth recommendations saying “you’ve got to see this film.” It became the second most seen film of the whole year after Jaws. Amazing! People identified with it.
I’m telling you this story so you can have the feeling of what it was like making movies under Pinochet. It was very difficult. There was a lot of auto-censorship too. You knew there were some things you could not touch, you could not describe. For instance, (Julio comienza en julio) is a portrait of Chile at the beginning of the century and about the “power.” Some people in the extreme right-wing wanted to out-law that film because, although it is not a political film, they felt it dealt with the abuse of power. But the reporters that were predominant in the censorship bureau fought in favor of the film. In that film, which was, as I said, a portrait of Chile at the beginning of the century, there should have been a character that was in the military. He was very important to the farms in Chile. Very important and an intriguing guy. This military type was used by the rich fellows who owned the lands. That was self-censorship. I didn’t put him in it because I knew that if I put a military person there, the film would not exist. That’s an example of self-censorship.
I had never heard of The Horse but I watched it after noticing Ali Özgentürk was screenwriter of The Girl with the Red Scarf, a favorite of mine. A big disappointment. Again a father-son story but, against Caiozzi’s rigorous approach (almost Viscontinian), I found the Turkish film bland and erratic (not to mention the wrong soundtrack).
Both bildungsroman with a strong father-son relationship. In both narratives, the destinies of the sons are in the hands of the fathers. In Julio, the father says that a head of a family is not only born but made. In The Horse, the son wishes to give up on the father’s dream for him in favor of going back to the village, which results in the father dying and the son returning to their village with his father’s corpse. Since he has already taken the state examination for orphans, it is not clear whether he will have a second chance at a free education now that the father is really dead. Fragile with an uncertain future, the son is still a boy whose experience of the big city has left him without illusions. Julio ends with the most emotional and poignant scene while in The Horse it comes shortly before the end when the father and the son run away from the wealthy couple who want to know the price of financial compensation the father wants for adopting out his son to them. Although The Horse is more nuanced and satisfying philosophically, the father’s death seemed senseless and unnecessary, while the tensions created by the social dynamics and different relationships within Julio worked quite well to make the narrative interesting, culminating in a surprise ending that is heartbreaking and definitive with no loose ends rendering the destinies of all the key characters predictable in a devastating moment of truth. Although the social dynamics in Julio seems stereotypical and superficial at first, it succeeds in portraying different characters as people with different motivations and needs.
Kim, I’m so glad you are participating!
The Horse is probably my least favorite among all the Turkish films I have seen )O: Julio Begins in July wasn’t spectacular but was a pretty good one.
VOTING IS CLOSED
Chile (Julio Begins in July) – 4
Turkey (The Horse) – 1
The winner is:
By Reason or By Force!!
Sweet Fatherland accept the vows
With which Chile swore at your altars
Either the tomb of the free you will be
Or the refuge against oppression
Thank goodness some more voters showed up on the last day. I was hoping I hadn’t scared everyone off, but my vote was the only one for the first 2 days. I’ve closed off a few threads, but didn’t want to close off the Cup, too.
I won’t be able to participate actively for the next while, so relieved to see others voters here. It’s been a fun event from my point of view, so thanks for the hard work going into this by all concerned. Good luck with the event, and I’ll drop in when and if I can. I never intended to get this far along and have seen some highly unusual films in the mix. Those who have had the patience to stumble through my own posts, thanks. They are done on the fly and just my own personal thoughts, not meant to be taken too seriously.
Thanks for the Caiozzi quotes, Angel. I think he was very brave to give us this great film under the Pinochet censorship. Glad that it was well-received by the Chilean audience – and the voters here, too. I think the comparison with Visconti is apt, as the film does try for an ‘epic’ quality. Still, I was happy to support the Turkish film, finding it more rewarding (warts and all) than some others.