THE DIRECTORS’ CUP 2010 : ROUND 2, MATCH 20 VOTING
New participants are most welcome and allowed to vote in the match-ups
Match 19, Charlie Chaplin (The Circus) vs Richard Fleischer (10 Rillington Place), will remain open for voting until 9pm BST (8pm GMT) on Monday 20th September and can be voted on here
On this thread voting will be on Match 20, Dušan Makavejev (Sweet Movie) vs Satyajit Ray (Kanchenjungha). The other matches in Round 2 will each be getting their own threads.
The extended voting period for this match lasts until 9pm BST (8pm GMT) on Tuesday 21st September, 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 before 9pm BST (8pm GMT) on Monday 20th September.
The current match-ups can be found on: http://directorscup.lifeasfiction.com/
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.
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT NAME BOTH FILMS IN YOUR POST YOUR VOTE WILL NOT BE COUNTED
The match you´re going to vote for on this thread is:
Dušan Makavejev (Sweet Movie) vs Satyajit Ray (Kanchenjungha)
Managed by Pedja and Apursansar respectively
If you have not seen Sweet Movie you can do so here
If you have not seen Kanchenjungha you can do so here
As I have said elsewhere Sweet Movie was the disappointment of the Cup for me. It was certainly good, and I enjoyed it, but considering I’m the lover of depravity that I am I was expecting to be head over heels with it…and I wasn’t… For starters there isn’t nearly enough depravity. I seriously don’t understand at all why people are so upset about this film. I was hoping for wall to wall coprophilia, urophilia and loads of awesome exploitative shit. Instead the film spends a lot of time faffing around with some somewhat amusing but often also somewhat annoying farce and with political metaphors that I couldn’t care less about. I can understand wanting to make some point about communism, but it just has no impact here and, for me, wasn’t clear enough to have any power in whatever it was it was trying to say about communism – I guess after watching WR and this that Makavejev’s whole montage thing isn’t for me, it’s interesting but has no real impact on me (which is strange because I love the far more abstract The Age of the Earth).
Also just so you know people, there is nothing “sick” about bodily functions. Nor is there anything “sick” about nudity (for all those getting worked up about the children scene).
And as far as the children scene is concerned, I’m told that according to the commentary track the boys were not pressured into it and actually enjoyed filming it. Once they were older they actually wanted that scene uncut in the UK because they saw nothing offensive about that scene.
Sweet Movie 1 vs Kanchenjungha 0
Dušan Makavejev (Sweet Movie) 0 – Satyajit Ray (Kanchenjungha) 1
I’m expecting that just like with Antichrist, Visitor Q, Singapore Sling, Io Island, and The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes we will have people voting against Sweet Movie and mentioning the dislike of the grotesque images regarding things we are uncomfortable seeing regarding the human body. And there will be other people who claim such people are being myopic by separating these elements from the larger scope and meaning of the picture. Essentially I am one of the former, and I am just letting you know up front I am already anticipating the comments from the latter. Actually when I first watched Sweet Movie I had in my mind I would at least give it a three star rating, but as each day went by and I was chewing it over I started respecting it less and less. That’s funny to me since I have now watched several interviews with Dušan Makavejev and like the guy a lot and respect what he is trying to accomplish. One thing in particular that I don’t understand is why he showcases the infamous commune in the last third of the movie without any explination. I found out from the interivews that this was a REAL COMMUNE OF PEOPLE! This wasn’t written this way for the film. These people participating were part of a real commune who would do stuff like this on a regular basis. Now I’ll admit I am a rather naive person, but I didn’t realize there were people in the world doing this kind of thing. If this film had explained that this was for real and had interviews documentary style with the people about why they were doing this I think I would have appreciated it better. After all, the documentary portions were my favorite part of WR.
Kanchenjungha is a beautiful film of what feels like real people with some of the real problems that Indian people have and are facing. At this point I’m craving more Ray because while his movies don’t employ any flashy technique they have all been full of such humanity.
Sweet Movie (Makavejev) – 1 / Kanchenjungha (Ray) – 0
Like Cecil said, although I consider this a plus, Sweet Movie was not truly that disturbing; in fact, I found it had scattered moments of true beauty, like that penultimate scene in the sugar. It certainly didn’t unsettle me as much as Singapore Sling, and here I thought it was all building toward a message about the darker side of the sexual liberation that Makavejev was preaching in W.R. (which was every bit as triumphant in tone as Sweet Movie was fatalistic).
Kanchenjungha is very good but I can’t say it was anywhere near as memorable, for better or for worse. I’m anticipating Ray to win this (and make a well-deserved case for winning the entire cup), but have my fingers crossed for Makavejev.
Dušan Makavejev (Sweet Movie) 0 vs Satyajit Ray (Kanchenjungha) 1
Why are the Anglophones so easily shocked? All opinions are subjective of course but I’ve especially noticed “Americans” are…..softer…when it comes to “controversial” images.
For me, Sweet Movie manages to work better than WR due to a better handling of tone, and what felt like a more integrated approach to the subject than in WR where there were great moments paired with less well thought out ones that felt more like they were merely intended to provoke. That might be due to my feeling that Reich’s work in itself doesn’t carry enough importance to sustain the ideas though, so I accept that one could feel differently about WR and the comparison. I also hold Sweet Movie in somewhat higher regard from a personal standpoint since I saw it without knowing much of anything about it back when I was in my late teen years, and so it’s place in my personal history in showing me things film could do I hadn’t seen before, except perhaps, in Russell’s The Devils to some degree.
Sadly though, I can’t quite bring myself to vote for it as much as I would like to because Satyajit Ray’s film speaks to me more now given my greater interest in character dynamics than cinematic fireworks. I am just too attached to Ray’s way of looking at the world to go against him in this. He, like Renoir, Shimizu, Kiarostami, Rohmer, and very few others, has an insight into people, and an understated but powerful way of presenting this understanding that makes me want to watch their films over and over again despite the seeming lack of more lavish cinematic elements.
So with apologies to DImitris and his fine choice that would have trumped many other selection in the event, I have to go with;
Sweet Movie 0 – Kanchenjungha 1
^ You mean Pedja, I’m just a hardcore depravity fan Greg, hahaha.
Oh, you’re right, sorry Pedja. Your consistent defense of Makavejev had me fooled Dimitris!
Sweet Movie (Makavejev) 1 — Kanchenjungha (Ray) 0
Sweet Movie is one of those films that tries a bit too hard to be confrontational and just ends up being silly. It starts out well enough with an outlandish ‘virgin’ competition, then we have some rather unfunny scenes with Canadian actor John Vernon (who is mainly known as a dramatic actor and was a fixture on Canadian TV in the late 1960’s playing a coroner in a series called Wojeck) with a very fake Texan accent. From there, the film quickly goes downhill with every type of silly scene imaginable. Even the boat with the Karl Marx head floating down the river, with the crazed woman captain and the sailor dressed as Potemkin (very unsuited reference to the great Eisenstein film), can’t redeem the scatological imagery. When we finally get to the totally repulsive German commune near the end, Makavejev does everything possible to shock us. This film was done a year before Salò, but lacks the Fascist critique of that little shocker from Pasolini.
So, what do we have in Sweet Movie that makes it sweet – in the most perverted sense? It features pubic urination… sweet! Vomiting while eating… sweet! Public defecating in the course of a ‘meal’,,, sweet! A couple stuck together like a pair of mating dogs in a public place while having sex (as spied on by passing nuns)… sweet! A nearly nude woman seducing a couple of young boys… sweet! Sugar used as part of a killing field… sweet! A naked woman writhing while covered in chocolate… very sweet! No wonder this movie is called sweet!
Oh, and into this bizarre mix Makavejev has real scenes of the Polish Katyn Forest Massacre victims, which in the context of this disturbed film is really obscene. However, it really is all about the excess, not about the art (which we had in spades in WR) this time for Makavejev, who can’t resist the appeal of yet another scene done strictly for shock value. A poor excuse for excess, indeed, with something to offend everyone. Of course, Dimitris will tell us why this film is a MASTERPIECE! and maybe Bobby Wise, with his knowledge of Yugolslavian cinema, can put this film in context. Don’t mind my rant.
Satyajit Ray’s film is a welcome relief. Here, we have a contemplative work, set in the high mountains with the mist often coming in to add an atmospheric mystery to the goings on. The film is heavy on dialogue and short on action. Basically, we have several couples of various ages and stages in their relationships discussing their relationships – or lack of them. English is interjected in the conversation to show these are well-educated and mostly well-off persons who are largely bored with one another. The young student newcomer to the scene, who is interested in the young lady, is a welcomed relief from the tension. He adds an element of hope and a new perspective lacking in the older characters, who all seem very set in their ways. Ray’s building of an understanding of the characters and their own fears and anxieties is done in a subtle, understated way. In every sense, I far prefer Ray’s understatement and subtlety to Makavejev’s excess. The easiest vote of the Cup for me.
Sorry, I’m being stupid here, but…
As far as Kanchenjungha is concerned, are we meant to assume based on that final scene with them that the couple whose marriage was damaged due to the cheating have decided to try and salvage their marriage for their kid’s sake?
Also of what relevence were the scenes at the cafe with Lily, her boyfriend and the lady with the dog?
Dušan Makavejev (Sweet Movie) – 1 vs Satyajit Ray (Kanchenjungha) – 0
Not a big fan of either.
Another solid film from Ray. I recently bought Interviews with Satyajit Ray and am reading those pieces associate with his films as I see them. Can’t wait to see more.
I’d also like to see more from Makavejev, though this one didn’t do it for me. I wasn’t shocked or turned off by it, but I wasn’t engaged, either.
Sweet Movie 0 vs. Kanchenjungha 1
I didn’t care much for ""Sweet Movie" when I first saw it. Unlike someone’s earlier comment though, the more I see the film the more I respect it. To the point that now, after studying it in detail, I feel it is a better film than “WR”.
I think the Katyn Forest sequence is the most amazing thing in all of Makavejev’s cinema. It’s a powerful moment that works for so many reasons on so many levels. Is “Sweet Movie” a fatalistic film? I don’t think so. In all of Makavejev’s cinema he gives his characters the power of life in the face of death. Izabela and Ahmed are given one last curtain call together in the final shot of “Love Affair”, despite her earlier death. Milena’s severed head gets in the final word and that great smile in “WR”. In “Sweet Movie” the murdered children rise from within their body bags at the conclusion. I’ve called Makavejev a humanist in cynic’s clothing, which I still believe.
Why is this film important? Because of the on-screen quote we see from the WWII-era British Foreign Minister: “We must think of these things always and speak of them never.” Makevejev is a destructive artist of the highest order — but what he destroys are the societal illusions that obscure and oppress. He overturns and upends, in the tradition of grotesque realism. His cinema is designed to wake us up from our slumber. To prove that there’s “life after birth”.
All that being said, “Sweet Movie” is a difficult film to watch and enjoy and is problematic on a lot of levels. There are sequences I can’t sit through. You have to grapple with this film but it’s worth it. It’s an amazing work of art from an amazing film artist.
Both were kind of interesting. Sweet Movie was more fun (and possibly more ‘important’, but I’ll leave that discussion to people who’re more informed), but neither really left much of an impression.
Kanchenjungha was nice enough I suppose, with some very nicely shot scenes but compared with round 1’s Distant Thunder, is kind of disappointing.
Thanks for your comments, Bobby. I wondered why Makevejev chose this film of all his films to put those scenes from the Katyn massacre? It seemed that so much of the film was designed to be satirical and over-the-top, that I couldn’t see the relevance. For me, WR worked much better. But I do agree that Makevejev certainly is trying to wake people up through his audacity and his visuals.
Although I gave the film a hard time in my own post (much of it deserved – imo), I didn’t find the film shocking, just rather more like an obscene drawing on a public washroom that seems more adolescent than gross. Mind you, the commune scenes were gross, and apparently Makevejev and his crew thought so, too, from what I have read. Makes you wonder why he put them in there, except just for their disturbing nature. Inspite of some earlier comments relative to the boys’ reaction in the scene where they are being seduced, I still think the scene in poor taste, even if the boys were ‘enjoying’ it vicariously. From my own standpoint, there were too many such scenes of questionable content to put this much above a schlock-ploitation film. Too many spurious elements to make a cohesive whole. Watching the film was like listening to a really dirty joke whose point you are just not getting.
Still, I have been curious to see it for a long time. I was just hoping for it to be more imaginative and less vulgar. But, I welcome the discussion and comments – pro and con – since we have no analysis thread. There is no denying that Makevejev is a serious film artist – even if his sense of humor or perspective is different from my own. Like the Pasolini work Salò, it needs critical evaluation. It was a popular film to discuss on this site at one point. See this thread, for example:
Perversity Is a Matter of Perspective
Sweet Movie — 0 vs. Kanchenjungha — 1
I’m sure that the Makevejev finds Ray’s sentiments entirely too broad. So be it.
Makevejev went over the high side once too often. Ray’s quiet reflection gives us a little room to make our own judgments.
Makevejev well, like Holden Caulfield said, "… I went down by a different staircase, and I saw … another “Fuck you” on the wall. I tried to rub it off with my hand again, but this one was scratched on, with a knife or something. It wouldn’t come off. It’s hopeless, anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “Fuck you” signs in the world. It’s impossible"
Sweet Movie 0 Kanchenjungha 1
Eh, have seen WR: Mysteries of the Organism and Sweet Movie and am yet still reluctant to see more Makavejev. So this one goes to Satyajit Ray.
My Sweet Movie comments are earlier in the thread. It wasn’t even a fifth as depraved as I was hoping.
Kanchenjungha felt light for Ray (at least compared to the other two films of his I’ve seen), though that is not necessarily a bad thing. For starters it is actually quite funny at points, and it’s kind of nice having a film which can look at human relationships intelligently and present the difficulties they can meet without having to end the film in tragedy. As usual Ray’s film is deeply humanist, and for his first film in colour I thought it looked really rather beautiful especially as the mist rolls in.
Sweet Movie – 0 vs. Kanchenjungha – 1
For me, the Ray film was very solid, not the best I’ve seen from him, but quite good nonetheless. This vote is definitely more about Sweet Movie, though. My brain simply won’t allow me to find joy in it. I appreciate that other people can, but it’s just not for me.
I once wrote a review for Sweet Movie but I deliberately removed it like some other ones due to my incorrigible nature which hasn’t changed much as of now. That all occurred in the first few months of The Auteurs residence. And then came Ray of the big ones and I’ve loved all of them from a woman’s dubious stability to a commune’s stormy struggle to the infamous trilogy of a young man’s trail of life. So pardon me but Kanchenjungha felt out of synchronization with my Ray mood. Maybe family dramas aren’t his style? On the contrary considering human relations are the epitome of his filmography.
But nope…perhaps a critique on a conservative parenthood just seemed not the Ray I was looking for. Mind you, it’s incredibly powerful in its piety but it’s the least favorite of all the Rays I’ve seen. Now Sweet Movie is the complete opposite in its core themes but well…humans it is again! But really….this is an almost no-match for me…..sure controversial projects affect each of us in a different matter but hell, if Salo is hailed as a masterpiece of subversive anti-fascism, Sweet Movie is this and much more! And yes, it’s a real environment for some of those individuals and the actions taking place should not be criticized by members of “white collar” civilization, like we seem to exist, depending where…either INSIDE that civilization or observing it. I’ll give it a 6 out of 5 just for Hatzidakis’ music (and because you all need to learn more composers than the Jerry Goldsmiths and Nino Rotas)
Dušan Makavejev (Sweet Movie) 1 vs Satyajit Ray (Kanchenjungha) 0
I know Ray is probably one of the two-three favorites of this DC but it’s going to be really unfair if Makavejev loses this to a semi-inferior Ray.
GO MAKAVEJEV!!!! GO AMAZING YUGOSLAV CINEMA!
Ouch, bad result on the half-time!
We need a song for fans…FORZA MAK!
I thought Makavejev also satirized the Reds Pedja ;)
Blood and other communist fluids, muahahaha.