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 Chouga: “Kazakhstan (Chouga) 1 – Senegal (Camp de Thiaroye) 0”
If you are voting for Camp de Thiaroye: “Kazakhstan (Chouga) 0 – Senegal (Camp de Thiaroye) 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 Wednesday, July 11 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.
Once again, I’m late in putting up a discussion thread for my submission. Probably will try to still put something up though.
Very interested in checking out the Omirbaev. One of my favorite discoveries of last years directors cup. Looks like I have something to watch tonight. :-)
I’m sorry to say I won’t be making a proper discussion thread for Camp de Thiaroye. I’m lacking extra time and energy at this very moment unfortunately, and it’s probably a little late for it now anyway. But I’ll still share a few comments.
First of all, and again this is probably too late in saying, but if possible, before watching this film, I would recommend seeing Sembène’s Emitaï. It appears this is a kind of spin off or sequel as events repeat themselves, and also a main character in Camp de Thiaroye seems to be related to some of the characters in this other film.
As always, Sembène creates a broad landscape of the many different types of people living in and influencing a certain time and place. And people have their own specific, intreguing qualities.
One thing that watching films from so many different countries has taught me that I find more and more interesting is the extent to which World War II truely was a world war. I discovered how it caused famin in India through Satyajit Ray’s Distant Thunder for example. And I don’t want to list them out, but there are so many films I’ve seen and I’m sure an unimaginable number for I haven’t that depict specific times and places that the war affected people in nearly every corner of the globe.
A lot of them, including Sembène’s films show how people on all sides acted deceptively and cruelly. Let’s not think the allies were in anywhere near perfectly virtuous in all of this. It’s a great example of how many different complex systems of politics of different sizes can come into contact with various and differing motivations.
I hope people find it entertaining, enlightening, and endearing to the history of the fight for soverenty of various nations in Africa from European control.
I hope we get some votes on this one. I’ve been watching Chouga here and there when I have free moments and it’s pretty good. And of course I think Camp de Thiaroye is fantastic!
Kazakhstan (Chouga) 0 – Senegal (Camp de Thiaroye) 1
I love Omirbaev’s style, but the story in this one just didn’t pull me in. Although it’s based on Anna Karenina which I’ve never read, but I have often heard call a perfect novel. So maybe I’m missing something? Or maybe it doesn’t translate that well.
Darezhan Omirbaev’s 2007 feature Chouga is undoubtedly a serious film, an important film, one reminiscent of the pensive ontological chess games invented by Robert Bresson, or a group of Godard’s more subjective queries into contemporary epistemological possibilities in the age of consumerism seen from within spirals upon spirals of manic materialism and paralyzing possibility. Within our present economic and social paradigms are we less able to intuit personal qualifiers such as depression or joy? If each of us is being led through a dark tunnel of self-ignorance—who or what is offering the rope end which we grip so tightly, straining to see where lies value, truth, love, morality, or are these merely the subjects of platitudes used to hold suicide at bay? For certainly there are layers where obfuscation or at least mitigation is always present, which Omirbaev seems to indicate by his use of framing shots through doorways, windows, mirrors, or his use of thematic material seen on televisions, video monitors, I-phone apps. One character won’t even watch a woman stripping in a club, but chooses instead to view the live action semi-clothed dancer (who’s performing only feet from where he’s sitting) on a flatscreen monitor hanging over the bar. This isn’t New York, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, but a city in Kazakhstan, one of the least cosmopolitan countries in Asia. Our media-saturated, technological-tempting, pleasure/pain dislocation knows no simple geographical regions. Ormirbaev treats it as a subjective contagion, one which demands our constant attention and self-diagnosis, no matter if we’re in the moment of our marriage ceremony, the height of a mad love affair, the sorrow of a mother rejecting her only young son. Couga’s concerns are spiritual in nature and vague from necessity, following nouveau riche exemplars as they brood blankly on long train trips, bus trips, car trips, moving through reality in cocoons of self-protection, always removed, always dispassionate, always collecting more data which they’re not able to process in any meaningful manner. The film often refuses to even film the obvious story highlights (the action), for instance never showing a scene of a young college girl’s suicide attempt, but instead filming close-ups of the precise bandaging of her wrists well after the event. Someone might just show-up in the film with cuts on his face, but never any mention of where or how they originated. Even the final suicide is not shown, but merely referred to by someone who barely knew her, after he was informed during a cell call conversation with his girlfriend. Action, per se, is merely another integer in the confusing and complex formula we hope to find which will explain our lives—a bone to gnaw silently in another room, behind glass doors while watching a nature program of snails copulating on the television set. Here is where we live, amid our expensive toys attempting to use a moral organ so anesthetized by sensation that all we do is ruminate passively about ourselves. Only gross violence on a video can elicit a laugh, only seeing an actor being filmed on a Parisian movie location holding flowers and singing into an apartment intercom can initialize the feeling of love for the non-actor, the actual lover who’s ably standing with his partner, holding her hand, both watching the film crew capture a romantic scene. We need the remove. We need the simile, the likeness, the other. Chouga is filled with ideas profound and fearful, I wish I didn’t believe them to be accurate in their appraisal.
Camp de Thiaroye is a wonderful movie, and informed me of many historical incidents I previously knew absolutely nothing about. The characters were drawn very well, the incidents certainly believable, though not particularly gritty or overly cinematic for no reason. It was a simple and direct film in the best definition of those words. I chose Chouga because of the filmmaking style and the courage to believe in that style. I find no faults with Camp de Thiaroye, and have only kudos for Ousmane Sembène and Thierno Faty Sow, the directors. I also appreciated the endowment of talents shown by the ensemble cast.
Kazakhstan (Chouga) 1 — Senegal (Camp de Thiaroye) 0
So torn here almost didn’t vote, then I said to myself margaret there’s no money involved, just do it already – Chouga I appreciated as a quietly understated adaptation of Tolstoy’s observation on what happens to a women who abandons her post, though if I hadn’t had an intimate knowledge of the work much would have been lost – liked the humour embedded here and there (eg “Karenin” playing video games…could have done without the snails:) Karenin suitably ghastly as usual, interesting that Joe Wright has cast a handsome man, Jude Law, in this role. Voting however for Camp de Thiaroye in a deeper appreciation of having been educated about a sliver of history I’d had no inkling of – not just the mutiny and hideous massacre but that Senegalese men had ever fought for the French in Europe and North Africa in the first place. Thanks to Arsaib and Riss for these two.
VOTING IS CLOSED
Kazakhstan (Chouga) – 1
Senegal (Camp de Thiaroye) – 4
The winner is:
One People, One Goal, One Faith!!
Fibres of my green heart,
Shoulder to shoulder, my more-than-brothers,
O Senegalese, arise!
Join sea and springs, join steppe and forest!
Hail mother Africa, hail mother Africa.
Once again, only a handful of voters—though excellent persons one and all.
It’s true, but I valued your comments greatly brother, especially for Chouga. The wall of communication technology between people was a theme I hadn’t explicitly noticed. Thanks for pointing that out.