THE DIRECTORS’ CUP 2010 : ROUND 2, MATCH 9 VOTING
New participants are most welcome and allowed to vote in the match-ups
Match 8, Bill Douglas (My Childhood) vs Seijun Suzuki (Fighting Elegy), will remain open for voting until 9pm BST (8pm GMT) on Tuesday 7th September and can be voted on “here”:
On this thread voting will be on Match 9, Akira Kurosawa (Dersu Uzala) vs Robert Bresson (L’Argent). 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 Wednesday 8th 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 Tuesday 7th 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:
Akira Kurosawa (Dersu Uzala) vs Robert Bresson (L’Argent)
Managed by Sekzee and Apursansar respectively
If you have not seen Dersu Uzala, you can do so here
If you have not seen L’Argent, you can do so here
Dersu Uzala 1 : L’argent 0
Possibly the hardest decision yet. Two years ago I would’ve said Dersu, but now I would have to say L’Argent, by the smallest margin imaginable. I really should’ve rewatched both, but that’s not gonna happen in the next two days, so:
Dersu Uzala 0 – L’argent 1
Akira Kurosawa (Dersu Uzala) 0 – Robert Bresson (L’Argent) 1
Repost from my comments in the L’Argent discussion thread:
This is my first “later” and color Bresson film. After watching and loving Diary, Balthazar, Pickpocket, and Man Escaped, I had a slight feeling that the bulk of his films had to be trudged through to get to the final few seconds of film with the divine transcendence that put it all into perspective. With this film I didn’t get what I was expecting. Yet I loved the film anyways. Perhaps it was because after loving all those other films I now appreciate every moment of them. Or maybe it was because I didn’t need that transcendent moment tacked on in the same way. Maybe it’s still there, but it’s not up to Bresson to spell it out in the same way.
Dersu Uzala is a decent little film (I call it “little” despite it’s running time because it feels that way) and I enjoyed watching it, but it’s probably now my least favorite Kurosawa. It doesn’t even really feel like Kurosawa to me, but maybe that’s for the very simple and obvious fact that it’s not about Japan. There’s nothing really bad about the film. All the scenes are good enough to watch and enjoy it just doesn’t go far. I thought the photograph montage was a bit cheap though. Like the film is trying to give the impression of memories created without actually presenting memory worthy scenes in the film. Maybe that would have made it way too much longer though, which it certainly did not need to be.
Akira Kurosawa (Dersu Uzala) 0 vs Robert Bresson (L’Argent) 1
Highly indifferent match for me, completely simplistic films from both directors, Dersu looked like a Disney-family stroll in the park but in a mature way, I’ll give more thoughts about Argent in the discussion thread.
Sorry to the managers, FLIP COIN for me……it could go either way……good films but good is not enough.
Weak Kurosawa effort and i’m not totally convinced about Bresson’s color films really.
I’ll give the vote to Bresson though.
Akira Kurosawa (Dersu Uzala) – 1 vs Robert Bresson (L’Argent) – 0
Another pair of masterpieces. The deeming of either of them being, “simplistic,” astounds me… it really does.
It’s tough to make a distinction as to which is the, ‘better,’ film… really it comes down to me recognizing that Dersu Uzala seems to need my support more than L’Argent at this point… sorry… that’s it…
“The deeming of either of them being, “simplistic,” astounds me… it really does.”
Kurosawa going Russian….please…the decline of Bresson…please…
Don’t you love The Idiot? That’s much more, “Kurosawa going Russian,” than Dersu Uzala. Which is much more about human relationships (specifically something he’d been concentrating on for decades… male relationships) than it is about where the film was set or funded. He could have made the same film with a Frenchman and an Eskimo set in the 18th century in Canada. As with any masterpiece it’s basic setting and specific themes belies a universality that can make it appeal to anyone.
And, “the decline of Bresson”? Hmmm… alright… maybe it’s not Bresson’s best, maybe I’d agree with that. But, it is also a summation of everything he’d concentrated on in his career… if L’Argent is simplistic everything he did is.
Kurosawa going Russian….please…
It’s also Bresson going Russian in a way, but he’s done that before.
“But, it is also a summation of everything he’d concentrated on in his career… if L’Argent is simplistic everything he did is.”
That’s why I never loved F & A, summation of Bergman’s career? Films summarizing both of their careers??? For the love of Artemis, this is academic purity, final works just sometimes don’t work, I don’t care if this wasn’t intended as one.
“As with any masterpiece it’s basic setting and specific themes belies a universality that can make it appeal to anyone.”
The problem of famous directors…..universality isn’t always important. The reason why Idiot is a masterpiece compared to this eco-friendly mediocrity (not to mention the hugely uneven performances) is the same as why Sjostrom dared to adapt Scarlet Letter without being a native of that country (coincidentally he’s part of a match now), Kurosawa’s universality with Idiot is his incorporation of it in his OWN society. Now Kurosawa going French / Eskimo, Russian / Nanai doesn’t appeal to me and all this “journey of natural discovery” or whatever National Geographic slide-show it contained is not the Kurosawa I love.
“It’s also Bresson going Russian in a way, but he’s done that before.”
That suits him more because he incorporates it in French society….he’s not making any travelogues.
Dimitris has a point. The reason why Kurosawa’s Shakespeare adaptions are some of the best Shakespeare adaptions in cinema history is because he transcribes them to the meaningful setting of his culture instead of setting them in the West, underlying the universality of the themes specifically by writing “what he knows”. Bresson “going Russian” thematically doesn’t remove himself from the landscape of his own culture, and true intercultural exchange is placed there.
However, I am only commenting on Dimitris’ argument, not on the movies. Please be aware that I will not be voting in this round because I have not seen EITHER movie (sad sad panda) and simply will not have time to in the next two days. I am, however, completely fascinated by how much of a beating Kurosawa is taking right out of the gate since I thought this round would be a… well… fuckton closer at every step. Now I’m wondering if Kurosawa is going to get a second breath or just take the beating. Fascinating turn of events, removed from knowledge of the movies themselves.
“For the love of Artemis, this is academic purity, final works just sometimes don’t work, I don’t care if this wasn’t intended as one.”
Alright… fine… It’s fine if you feel it doesn’t work. But if it’s simplistic everything Bresson ever did was simplistic. So… yeah… it can not work and still be complex.
“Kurosawa’s universality with Idiot is his incorporation of it in his OWN society.”
Actually, no that’s not what he did at all. He did that in The Lower Depths, but Kurosawa just directly translated the setting of the novel to Japan. The film really has no tie at all to Japan circa 1868… or 1950… or any other time in Japan’s history. It doesn’t even really comment on Japanese society because it has no relation to it. It’s essentially almost a straight adaptation, but it’s so incoherently made that it doesn’t even do a good job of relating the story of the book to film. If someone had not read The Idiot beforehand I cannot imagine them being able to follow a single thing in the film. It’s a novel I’ve read four times and I had a tough time following it.
“The problem of famous directors…..universality isn’t always important.”
“Kurosawa’s universality with Idiot is his incorporation of it in his OWN society.”
So, being universal isn’t important, but just so we know Kurosawa was definitely able to make The Idiot universal? No, that’s a contradiction.
Universality is a trait of every great film. It’s a trait of every great work of art. If a work cannot transcend it’s setting then it’s about as useless as possible. Why would I watch a film that I know from the start I won’t be able to relate to in any fashion? That would be horrible.
“Now Kurosawa going French / Eskimo, Russian / Nanai doesn’t appeal to me and all this ‘journey of natural discovery’ or whatever National Geographic slide-show it contained is not the Kurosawa I love.”
Well, it’s essentially the exact same thing Kurosawa had explored in Sanshiro Sugata I and II, Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail, Drunken Angel, Stray Dog, Scandal, even the end of The Idiot, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Lower Depths, Hidden Fortress, The Bad Sleep Well, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, High and Low, Red Beard, Dodes’ka-den, Kagemusha, Ran, parts of Dreams, and Madadayo. If you don’t like Kurosawa’s explorations of male relationships in here you must hate an awful lot of Kurosawa’s work.
As for it being a “National Geographic slide-show”… what? He’s setting the film in Siberia. He indulges in the landscape as much as he does in all of his films. Normally he sets his films in cities and so his works are full of people… when you set a film in a barren landscape untouched by man you tend to present the area as such… he was a painter, and this is the film in which that side of him is at its fullest.
“Dimitris has a point. The reason why Kurosawa’s Shakespeare adaptions are some of the best Shakespeare adaptions in cinema history is because he transcribes them to the meaningful setting of his culture instead of setting them in the West, underlying the universality of the themes specifically by writing ‘what he knows’.”
I’m not talking about Kurosawa’s Shakespeare adaptations. I’m talking about his adaptation of Dostoevsky which doesn’t transcribe the setting of the novel to Japanese society at all. The films setting seems as aimless as the action onscreen.
Dersu Uzala — 0 vs. L’Argent — 1
“But if it’s simplistic everything Bresson ever did was simplistic. "
No, that’s an absolutist remark, pointless to the core because no work from each director is “similar” to his / her previous one. Themes is one thing but a whole film on the other hand…
I’ll come back later with the Kurosawa response but really……what does society and political landscape of the era has to do with the social emotions of the people? Bresson’s Argent is hardly a comment to French politicabilia, of course the Idiot isn’t about any sort of political description! (plus anyone who adapts any novel in their respective land is allowed to remove elements of the “foreign” novel so that it suits his / her vision of the film, I don’t see any rule against it)
Dersu Uzala – 1 / L’argent – 0
It’s a testament to Kurosawa’s body of work that Dersu Uzala is generally not considered among his best. In fact, if feels more like a Herzog film than a Kurosawa, but since both are among my favorite directors, this film was just a joy to watch.
That Kurosawa makes beautiful films is no surprise, but the Siberian wilderness gives him new colors to paint with. Sights like the ice river and the subsequent evening storm will not soon be forgotten.
The highlight, however, is Maksim Munzuk’s portrayal in the title role. Much like Bruno G. in Herzog’s films, he gives the appearance of not so much acting as “being” the role. Dersu Uzala is such a rich and layered character with equal parts humor and sadness. If the idea of a “noble savage” has become a cliché, Munzuk doesn’t know it and the result is a very human individual. This is why the standard nature vs. civilization plot feels fresher here.
I’ll keep trying, but somehow I just can’t get into Bresson. L’Argent does little to change this impression. It’s actually a fairly conventional crime story that could have had more impact if told in a more straightforward fashion. I’d probably feel differently (as most of you seem to do) if Bresson’s distinctive style of underplaying spoke more to me.
“No, that’s an absolutist remark, pointless to the core because no work from each director is ‘similar’ to his / her previous one. Themes is one thing but a whole film on the other hand…”
Every single element in L’Argent is an expansion upon what Bresson had been doing his entire career. One can argue whether it works, it does for me, but one cannot argue the similarity between this and every other film he’s made. The themes are what make up any film.
Perhaps you’re just arguing that it’s ‘simplistic’ in Bresson’s oeuvre… if that’s the case then that’s fine, and we’ll just have to agree to disagree.
“what does society and political landscape of the era has to do with the social emotions of the people?”
Ummm… quite a bit.
“…plus anyone who adapts any novel in their respective land is allowed to remove elements of the “foreign” novel so that it suits his / her vision of the film, I don’t see any rule against it…”
Exactly. That’s what Kurosawa does in his best adaptations. In The Lower Depths for example he cements the film in Meiji era Japan and comments on Japan’s (and the entire world’s) treatment of the poor. That’s how he makes a very specific setting universal.
In The Idiot, however, he doesn’t make a single thing in the film resemble Japanese society… or Russian society… or anything human at all. It just feels like a mess of an incomprehensible film.
“It just feels like a mess of an incomprehensible film.”
People think idiot is a mess and Rhapsody in August is a masterpiece…sigh…I give up on the Idiot argument.
I love the aural 3-D effect at the end of “L’Argent.”
I agree with Dimitris that The Idiot is superior to Dersu Uzala, but the latter still gets my vote here. I haven’t seen either film in this match for years, sorry, so i will have to go on my younger self’s reactions then, and i didn’t like the Bresson, finding it mannered and irritating like most of his later films.
Dersu Uzala 1 L’Argent 0
Dersu Uzala — 0 vs. L’Argent — 1
“People think idiot is a mess and Rhapsody in August is a masterpiece…sigh…I give up on the Idiot argument.”
Neither is a masterpiece. One is film that most likely would have been much better (possibly even a ‘masterpiece’) had Shochiku not butchered it, but in it’s current form is almost totally incoherent, and the other is a good film on the continued fear of militarism in the modern world.
Dersu Uzala — 1 vs. L’Argent — 0
Dersu Uzala 1 – L’Argent 0
Dersu Uzala is definately not my favourite Kurosawa by far, but I’m sort of forced to give it my vote. Sorry guys, but I could hardly stand to watch L’argent. I understand what he’s trying to do, but the acting (as in almost all of his later films) is so bad it’s practically unwatchable. He would have done better to make a stop-motion with mannequins.
It’s not acting. Bresson wasn’t interested in acting and didn’t use actors from “Diary of a Country Priest” on. He called his performers “models” an utilized them for their entire physical selves.
|I understand what he’s trying to do, but the acting (as in almost all of his later films) is so bad it’s practically unwatchable."
I may not like Argent that much but that’s a typical anti-cinematic quote. Sometimes Ehrenstein’s right when he’s mocking…