THE DIRECTORS’ CUP 2010 : ROUND 1, MATCH 1 VOTING
We are now starting Round 1. New participants are most welcome and allowed to vote in the match-ups
On this thread, voting will be on Match 1, Woody Allen vs Zoltán Huszárik. The other matches in Round 1 will each be getting their own threads.
The extended voting period for this match lasts until 9 pm BST on Thursday 3rd June, which means that users will have over 48 hours in order to publish their votes. The world map which lists all current time zones can be found on www.worldtimezone.com, so that everyone can be up to date about how much time is left.
After the voting period is over the votes will be counted and the results published. The next match will begin at approximately 9 pm BST on Wednesday 2nd June.
The current match-ups can be found on: http://www.lifeasfiction.com/auteurs/bracketwithfilms.html
Each user can vote on any match as long as he/she has watched both films that are lined-up against each other. An explanation for the preference in each case would be greatly appreciated. Team managers are not allowed to vote on matches their own team participates in. The voting should be handled like this:
Film A 1 (or 0) – Film B 0 (or 1)
Please mark the winning film/score in large or heavy print.
The match you´re going to vote for on this thread is
Manhattan (1979, Woody Allen) vs Sinbad (1971, Zoltán Huszárik)
If you have yet to see Sinbad it is available to watch here
Manhattan 1 – Sinbad 0
Manhattan is one of my favourite films. A wonderful love letter to NYC. Wonderful Gershwin. Wonderful black and white photography. Wonderfully insightful about relationships, maturity and us neurotic folks. A wonderful relationship between Diane Keaton and Woody Allen. Wonderfully funny without ever drawing attention to itself unlike most comedies. Just absolutely wonderful and one of those sheerly enjoyable films. And for the record (slightly) better than Annie Hall ;-)
Sinbad I’m less excited about I’m afraid. Its formal beauty and the tremendous manner in which it handled memories just aren’t enough for me on their own. I thought it ran out of steam before the end due to how little insight I thought I was given in to the situations, emotions and characters, I thought its quirks did not coalesce with the rest of the film with even an ounce of the beauty and amusement of greater films, and I generally just found the film to lack the ability to get me thinking and keep me captivated that many equally baffling films possess. It was certainly good, though against the brilliance of Manhattan the choice was an easy one.
Manhattan (1979, Woody Allen) 0 vs Sinbad (1971, Zoltán Huszárik) 1
I ranked both these films 4/5, so took them apart and made the decision based on which one edged the other out that way.
It’s a wash in cinematography, music, and acting (even though I don’t particularly like either of the male leads in these films), but I gave the edge to Sinbad because of the way it was edited.
Very subjective, i realize, and it was maybe the most difficult of the decisions so far. Very interested to see how the voting progresses. Thanks to both managers for putting up a great fight.
Manhattan (1) Sinbad (0)
for me its a good film versus a classic
Manhattan 1– Sinbad 0
Chapter One – Manhattan vs. Szindbad. I adored Woody Allen. I idolized him all out of proportion. Then he spent the last twelve or so years making crap films and I got over him. Revisiting Manhattan showed me that, unlike the characters in this film, I was not suffering from delusions, but was watching one of the great directors in his prime.
It’s one of the unforgettable openings in film. Stunning black and white images of New York City, while the soundtrack plays Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, combined with Allen’s narration commenting on what he perceives as his ideal self in his ideal locale. We will soon find out that Allen’s character Isaac, as well as the rest of his flawed entourage, idealizes relationships as well. Here’s what’s brilliant about the opening. By showing NYC in such a magical light, we are being primed to buy into these ideals. Because Isaac is played by Woody Allen, the lovable loser, we may not register that he’s no longer the underdog, but a successful, somewhat selfish man very capable of hurting others.
Isaac spends much of the film trying to justify, continue or end his affair with a 17 year-old high school student. Normally, this would alienate us from him, but it doesn’t, because he’s self aware enough to feel guilt (unlike a certain Hungarian lothario I’ll get to shortly) and Mariel Hemmingway’s understated portrayal of Tracy, who she invests with such maturity and smarts, that the relationship seems somewhat less inappropriate. We kind of have to keep reminding ourselves that an affair between a man of 42 and a girl of 17 is wrong. (Yes, this brings us some issues in Woody Allen’s personal life, but I don’t give damn about that. I’m only interested in his films.)
The Diane Keaton and Michael Murphy characters are not much better off. Despite their charm and likeability, they are serial adulterers, smart enough to know better AND to care, but not so smart as to commit to any kind of mature relationship. All this is after the fact analysis that doesn’t take into account how much Manhattan lures us into identifying with these flawed characters. I also haven’t mentioned how damn laugh out loud funny this film is. It contains possibly the sharpest writing of any Allen script, combining humor with a wistful sense of romance and the best looking cinematography Allen’s ever been associated with.
Szindbad AKA Sinbad is also a beautiful film to look at. This 1971 Hungarian period piece from director, Zoltán Huszárik, is told as a deathbed recollection of the title character trying to assign meaning to his life. There’s some artsy stylizing at hand with quick cuts to related, but separate moments from the narrative as well as to seemingly abstract close ups.
Sinbad’s recollections are that of an upper class turn-of-the-19th century womanizer who life was spent seducing and abandoning an endless array of beautiful women. Unlike, the characters in Manhattan, these relationships are embarked on with no sense of self awareness and no real joy either. Zoltán Latinovits plays Sinbad as an utter drip. With the exception of an elderly ex-lover he confides in, the women in his life are all interchangeable (although the death of one seems to have left a mark.) As viewers, we’re given little to distinguish his many conquests from each other.
The films many (tame) love scenes are filmed without an ounce of eroticism. In fact, Sinbad seems to regard these seductions as somewhat of a chore. There is, however, one very sensual scene, but it involves food rather than women. Sinbad sits down at a fancy restaurant to confront the ex-husband of one of his lovers. The meal is lingered upon in the kind of long and detailed close ups that exist nowhere else in the film. This sequence begins a more compelling final act than what came before.
All in all, my reaction to Sinbad was mixed. I admire its ornate look and how it captured its time period through sets and landscapes. If I was left cold by the lead performance, I’m sure this was by design. The risk of having distant characters is that you can end up keeping your audience at a distance. From a distance, it was interesting, creative and had something to say. That’s about as much affection as I can muster up for it.
Yeah, I was never a Woodyphile, but surely I’m not alone?
Manhattan (1979, Woody Allen) 0 vs Sinbad (1971, Zoltán Huszárik) 1
Both amazing films. Manhattan is my favorite Woody Allen film, but Sinbad was a great discovery. I loved the editing of the film as well as the cinematography. The dinner scene is absolutely fantastic. I hope to see more from Huszárik!
Manhattan 1 vs Sinbad 0
Woody Allen is one of my favorite directors, and Manhattan one of my favorite films of his. I find Mariel Hemingway’s performance, as well as Meryl Streep’s, to be among my favorites in all of Allen’s films. Though I’m not as fond of Manhattan as I am of Stardust Memories, I gave it a 4-star rating. I also enjoyed the black-and-white atmosphere and the relationships between each of the characters. I can honestly say that I know people like many of the characters in the film, which is what I think one of the many good things about Allen’s films are.
Compared to Huszárik’s Szindbád, which I felt had some decent moments and many beautiful images (I have a very weak spot for church scenes). That being said, I did not care about the characters when all was said and done, and my 3-star rating primarily merited from the visuals and ethereal value, not so much character development or acting.
0 – 1
not an easy vote, two highly-impressive, dialogue-driven films with frustratingly devious leading characters, part-manipulators but at the same time pondering in a melancholic way about their era, their mistakes and…their women. (yup, both Allen and Latinovits are amazing although the latter is obviously the better actor)
two unique classics but i gotta give it to the hidden gem.
Manhattan (1979, Woody Allen) 0 – Sinbad (1971, Zoltán Huszárik) 1
I’m not a big fan of either of these films, but Woody Allen and his characters generally annoy me. They are all very frustrating and selfish characters who I don’t take much pleasure out of spending time with.
The Sinbad movie at least was unusual and varied enough in shots and cinematography to keep me a bit more engaged.
Sorry I didn’t have much constructive to say about this one. I have appreciated many of the other films I’ve seen so far and should have more to say in future rounds, but this round was a bit of a bore for me.
Manhattan (1979, Woody Allen) 0 vs Sinbad (1971, Zoltán Huszárik) 1
As much as I love Manhattan, my vote goes to Sinbad. While watching this film, I felt the same sense of excitement that I experienced with some of Resnais’ or Grillet’s works. And that ending…it was superb. Still haunts me.
Sinbad takes the lead.
I rated both four stars. Manhattan is my favorite Woody Allen movie, but Sinbad is a much more interestingly structured and directed film in my opinion and I’d much rather see more from Zoltán Huszárik as I’ve seen over a dozen Woody Allen films, and don’t think any of them would be very competitive in this cup.
but, though through an age of maidens we flew,
w(hat sir?) would woody do, hmmmm?
he’d vote like me:
Manhattan has all the charm now so lacking in Allen’s pictures. Its characters are presented in a believable manner and the whole tone is stylish and sophisticated, without being mawkish. What has happened to this once great master? Perhaps he said it all in his earlier films, and is now just stuck repeating himself with less and less style and substance – like a record stuck in the same groove. Interesting that Isaac’s relationship with a young woman here mirrors Allen’s own later real life.
Szindbad was interesting mainly because of the creative editing with its quick jump cuts and its beautiful cinematography. I loved how scenes from nature, portraits, imaginary and real scenes were spliced creatively into the structure of the film. The opening sequence is unforgettable! Unfortunately, the story itself was too fractured and the characters were never fully developed. It was too episodic and meandering, making the narrative often difficult or impossible to follow. What the film lacked in narrative drive, however, it more than made up for in its creative visual palette. It’s too bad if Huszárik doesn’t advance, as he has a wonderful visual imagination. I am happy to have seen this and would enjoy seeing more of his work. Unfortunately, it was up against a film that had both narrative drive and visual style.
Manhattan was one of the first films that really started my love for Cinema, truly a wonderful film.
Manhattan mounts a comeback.
7-6 Sinbad so far.
I was quite impressed with Manhatten, and it struck me as his second best work. (after Crimes and Misdemeanors, and I still haven’t seen Annie Hall yet) It has some gorgeous over the top cinematography, typical Allen characters & dialogues and makes wonderful use of Gershwin music.
Sinbad, however, completely caught me off guard. I hadn’t seen a film that makes such good use of a fractured stream of conscious/memory structure since Watkin’s masterpiece Edvard Munch. Sinbad has made me eager to find out more about this Hungerian master of the modern art film, and I hope he’ll make it through, even if it means we’re getting rid of Allen, who’s wide ouevre I’ve far from explored yet.
Make that 8-6 Sinbad.
C’mon Woody, you can do this! ;-)
Also Brad S., that is quite an awesome post you have there. I’ve enjoyed reading most everything on this page but your post especially.
Both are great looking movies. My vote goes to the one with the stronger (or at least more conventional) narrative.
man, i love both films but i kinda want to see till where can Huszarik go in the tournament, hehe.
Thanks Cecil! I’ve actually got an ulterior motive in writing these as I’ve been too lazy to contribute to my long dormant blog (www.criticalplayground.blogspot.com). I’m hoping the Directors Cup will get me back in the writing habit. This has already been an awesome project and we’ve got a horserace right off the bat.
watching Manhattan tonight so I can vote :) Sinbad was eye-opening, great film and wether or not he makes it to the next round I will be checking out more from Huszárik
This was a pretty close match for me as I didn’t think either film was great, although I did like both. For me, what tipped the scales was Manhattan’s incredibly beautiful black and white cinematography. It simply had some really stunning shots. However, even though Manhattan won my vote, I thought it was less than the sum of its parts. It had great cinematography, writing, acting, etc., but I thought the total effect was not as good as each individual component. So, not my favorite match-up so far.
Manhattan 0 Sinbad 1
Easy pick for me. Sinbad so far has been the find for me. I loved the imagery, the unconventional narrative and the overall mystery of the film. While not up there with the best of Jancso and Makk this is Hungarian filmmaking of the highest class and I hope to be able to see more of Huszarik in the coming rounds.
Woody Allen ermm some of his stuff I really really like some of his films usually the type which see him chasing around girls young enough to be his grandaughter frankly don’t do it for me. Gordon Willis’ cinematography is sublime but Mariel Hemmingway as his love interest makes me feel a bit uneasy. If he progresses I hope to see a good variety of his collection such as Interiors, Radio Days, Sleeper. Films that don’t focus on a forty-sixty something man chasing skirt.
“While not up there with the best of Jancso and Makk”
it’s a pity Huszarik couldn’t make more films in his short career and he resembles superb cases of Damianos, Diop and Erice (and more) with few than none films in their folio. i don’t know if he can reach a Jancso but it’s quite sad to know that he committed suicide to escape from any personal demons he might have had.
worth reading from Andrew Sarris of the Village Voice. I feel almost as strongly about the film, tho I think NIght Moves is just a bit better:
Woody Allen’s Manhattan has materialized out of the void as the one truly great American film of the ‘70s. It tops Annie Hall in brilliance, wit, feeling, and articulation, though it is less of a throbbing valentine to a lost love, and more of a meditation on an overexamined life. As a carnival of the sexes, it can be mentioned in the same breath with such previous masterpieces as Max Ophuls’s Madame de …, Jean Renoir’s La Regle du Jeu, Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night, and Preston Sturges’s The Lady Eve and The Palm Beach Story….
Manhattan is comparable to such epiphanies of my movie-reviewing career as Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana in 1962, Richard Lester’s and the Beatles’s A Hard Day’s Night in 1964, and Eric Rohmer’s My Night at Maud’s in 1970. At a time when even the most discerning film critics seem to be mesmerized by gaudy, growly, weepy, inarticulate firework displays masquerading as movies, Allen has returned us to square one with an authentic talking picture about recognizably motivated human beings. I now suspect that Interiors, far from being a detour, was a necessary step in Allen’s artistic progression from Annie Hall to Manhattan. Never in Manhattan does Allen compromise his mise-en-scene by enslaving it to a transient and thus ultimately disorienting sight gag. Instead, an ironic counterpoint is established from the outset between the verbal and the visual, between the satire and the romance, between the intellectual perception and the emotional projection.
Manhattan 0 – Sinbad 1
I found this match-up very difficult. I had to watch both films twice. Both films floored me with their cinematography and I found both scores to be expertly used. From the beginning of both films, I was entranced by their beauty. But, Manhattan lost its steam. Because I found the plot predictable and the characters and their plights increasingly boring. I didn’t really respond to it. I still think it is a wonderful film, but one that I couldn’t relate to. What I liked best about the film is how Allen is able to relate his characters to the Big Apple. On the other hand, I found Sinbad to be one of the most interesting (new) films I have seen in a long time. Huszárik kept me on my toes with his seemingly random juxtapositions and relatively loose narrative. Sándor Sára’s cinematography reminded me a lot of Breughel’s Hunters in the Snow (one of my favorite paintings), which will always be a plus. Perhaps the biggest reason for my decision is that Sinbad is a very sensuous film. The colors, textures, and sounds are very prominent. Hell, at times I felt the cold of winter and at other I could smell and taste the food! I think that perhaps this is what I value most in cinema. It’s ability to entice the senses.
“Woody Allen’s Manhattan has materialized out of the void as the one truly great American film of the ‘70s.”