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Managers Cup, Match QFA: sacmersault vs filmbantha (Dec 12th)

500<400, Favourite 1001 movies, Doubling the Canon, Film World Cup and many other votes
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Managers Cup, Match QFA: sacmersault vs filmbantha (Dec 12th)

#1

Post by joachimt »

This is match QFA of iCM Forum's Managers Cup.

Original TitleEnglish TitleYearManagerIMDBICM
La muralla verdeThe Green Wall1969sacmersaultlinklink
KichikuThe Demon1978filmbanthalinklink

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La muralla verde
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Kichiku
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Voting Rules:
- You must watch both films before you vote.
- To vote, post which of the two movies is your favorite.

Voting deadline = Dec 12th
Countdown till deadline

The manager that ends at 1st place proceeds to the next round. The ranking of the match will be decided using these rules:
- Movie with most votes wins.
- In case of a tie the match will have a 3 day extension.
- In case there's still a tie then, the next voter decides by sudden death.
Here's a quick summary of how the tournament works
We start with 18 movies selected by 18 managers. In the first round the movies are divided into 6 groups of 3. From each group the countries that end up at #1 proceed to the next round. The two best #2's proceed as well. In the 2nd round the 8 remaining managers will be divided into 8 matches of 2 and they pick a new movie. The winner of each match proceeds to the next round. This continues till the final.
Rules for picking movies:
- Less than 1000 checks on iCM in round 1. Quarter finals: 400 checks. Semi finals: 200 checks. Final: (TBD) checks.
- Maximum runtime 180 min.
- No movies that have previously been selected for the World Cup.
- Not multiple movies by the same director.
- If two managers pick the same movie, the one who picked first gets it.
iCM-list of all movies in this Managers Cup

List of all topics related to the Managers Cup including previous seasons of the World Cup
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#2

Post by 72aicm »

1. Kichiku
2. La muralla verde
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#3

Post by pitchorneirda »

Damn, I was sure I would be first...

1. La muralla verde
2. Kichiku

The plot for Kichiku was overall plausible but too many dialogues, situations,... were silly and caricatural especially in the first half. Sorry filmbantha but it's my first real dislike in this cup.
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#4

Post by filmbantha »

pitchorneirda wrote: November 28th, 2021, 9:38 pm Damn, I was sure I would be first...

1. La muralla verde
2. Kichiku

The plot for Kichiku was overall plausible but too many dialogues, situations,... were silly and caricatural especially in the first half. Sorry filmbantha but it's my first real dislike in this cup.
That's too bad but can't be helped! Kichiku made a big impression on me and was my first 8/10 in some time when I watched it a few weeks back, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it might find a few fans during this match. My first round pick, Rocks in My Pocket, also had a handful of strong detractors but some people loved it so hopefully this match has a number of positive responses along with the negative.

It's a real tough challenge trying to find a film that would be universally loved by the diverse tastes of this forum. That's why I opted for something that I felt deserved more exposure and had not been seen by the majority of people who voted in the first round.

I could have been the first responder to this thread but I didn't want to take 72aicm's crown!

1. Kichiku 8/10 - I have a huge soft spot for bleak and depressing cinema and Kichiku ticked all of my boxes.
2. La Muralla Verde 6/10 - This didn't really live up to its exciting synopsis when I watched it a year or so ago. From what I recall there were too many flashbacks to the protagonist's time in the city and not enough time spent in the jungle. Its a competent film but one that didn't draw me in on an emotional level.

Best of luck sacmersault!
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#5

Post by klaus78 »

1. La muralla verde
2. Kichiku
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#6

Post by Mario Gaborović »

1. La muralla verde
2. Kichiku
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#7

Post by Onderhond »

01. 2.5* - Kichiku
Not the most subtle of films. It's pretty fascinating to see how Japanese dramas went from screamy characters and loud, overt sentiment to near-silent protagonists and stilted, subdued emotions, and that in less than 30 years. The Demon is a pretty oldskool drama, not really what I fell in love with. When Sokichi breaks off the relationship with his mistress, she leaves her children behind with him and his wrathful wife. Sokichi's wife reluctantly accepts the situation, but doesn't treat the children well and keeps badgering Sokichi to find a solution. Sokichi is loyal to his wife, but he doesn't want to do wrong to his children either. The core drama isn't all that bad really, but the performances are very overstated, the music is not quite fitting, and the film can be a bit too obvious. Ken Ogata's character is the only one with a little depth, but the core dilemma and the turnaround of his characters feel too scripted. There's potential here, but the execution just isn't on point.


02. 1.0* - La Muralla Verde
One of the first Peruvian full-length feature films. With a little push from Ebert it became a minor arthouse cult hit, just not big enough to receive a digital release. The film could really use a proper restoration, though I don't think that would've made much of a difference in the end. In part based on the life of the director, a man takes his wife and young kid out of the city and joins a government program to cultivate some land in the jungle. He builds a home for his family and leaves his old life behind. His son grows up never having seen the city, building a self-imagined replica in their garden. I didn't care much for the characters, nor the presentation of the film. The narrative is pretty loose and unannounced flashbacks add to the poetic nature, but the cinematography is horrendous, and the soundtrack is amateurish. The good old contrast between urban vs rural life also didn't do much for me, so it ended up being a pretty big drag to sit through 110 minutes of this.
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#8

Post by joachimt »

Good match!

1. La muralla verde 8/10
2. Kichiku 7+/10
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#9

Post by Armoreska »

filmbantha wrote: November 29th, 2021, 7:07 am 1. Kichiku 8/10 - I have a huge soft spot for bleak and depressing cinema and Kichiku ticked all of my boxes.
and near guaranteed my vote in the process

1. Kichiku
2. Muralla Verde

seen both, rewatched Kichiku, will maybe part-rewatch the other as well
he or A. or Armo or any

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#10

Post by beavis »

clear winner here for me

1. La muralla verde - 8
2. Kichiku - 5,5
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#11

Post by clemmetarey »

1. La muralla verde (1969) 6/10
2. Kichiku (1978) 6/10
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#12

Post by Smoover »

1. Kichiku 7/10
2. La muralla verde 5.5/10
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#13

Post by mightysparks »

1. Kichiku (1978) 6/10
2. La muralla verde (1969) 4/10

Saw the second one many years ago and don't remember it so hard to compare. Kichiku was ok but the kids were really annoying and I would've liked a bit more complexity in the characters.
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#14

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#15

Post by St. Gloede »

I almost considered not voting as the films are very close in my estimation:

1. Kichiku 6/10
2. La muralla verde 6/10

In fact, The Green Wall could quite possibly have triumphed if it was available in decent or better condition - especially as it was the film that wow-ed me the most. The early camera work inside the family's jungle home was genuinely inspired - amplifying the sexual tension between the parents and the innocence of the child on the other side of the curtain. I can't remember seeing a camera seemingly roll itself like this with a few extreme experimental examples of very different aims/qualities, like Leviathan - it felt so intimate and intricate at the same time. Unfortunately, the film fell quite flat after the great introduction, bogged down by endless flashbacks that only detracted from the experience to the point that there was very little left. The president's visit was very well shot and acted as well, but the mirrored drama felt far too empty - and the juxtaposition in itself did not really bring much to the table either.

Kichiku looked quite glorious in contrast, but it felt like it did not live up to its potential. The filmmaking was just not cold enough and/or warm enough to really deliver the punch as a father contemplates abandoning or even murdering his children. I think I understand why - i.e. we want to see the good in the father and be unsure what he wants to do - but he is never properly developed and the film is not stylized enough to go for bleak/dark comedy - at least the kind I like. The result is a perfectly good enough drama with some memorable moments, but with a lot of wasted potential.
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#16

Post by OldAle1 »

Like Gloede, I thought the films were very close - though I liked both more than he, or most here apparently, did - I guess I'm about where joachim is. But the very endings of both films made the difference for sure - both involving young children and tragedy, but the second feeling more "Hollywood" and forced to me, and that gave the lead to the first fairly definitively.

1. La muralla verde VERY GOOD

I just came across this "Sneak Previews" episode from 1980 where Siskel & Ebert discuss the film, and 5 others, as forgotten or underseen films that they'd show if they ran a theater. The others are 2 Claude Lelouch films, Toute une vie (1974) and La bonne année (1973), The Conversation (1973), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) and Real Life (1978). It's interesting to see how 41 years later one of those films has become a very established classic, one is perhaps a half-step down, and the others, including this one, are still somewhat obscure, at least to people who aren't serious cinephiles. It's also interesting that Roger and Gene could devote half of a show to foreign-language films in 1980, something that's hard to imagine today on regular ol' terrestrial tv, if there was any film criticism there to begin with.
Spoiler
As others have mentioned, it's unfortunate that we only have a mediocre VHS rip of this film - though it's a better VHS rip than plenty that I've watched, and the subs are pretty readable. The visuals are most problematic in the indoor flashback scenes where Mario is confronting the endless bureaucracy of the state in his quest to obtain land to homestead out in the jungle; theses scenes show striking architecture with equally striking camerawork - I think, because they are so dim it's sometimes hard to tell what we're looking at. But the regular long shots of our hero at the end of long hallways tell us plenty about how important he and people like him are to the government, despite the propaganda shown later that indicates otherwise. While the theme of the film seems on the surface to be the contrast between the frenetic life of the city and the more "natural" rural life that Mario has chosen for his family, it really becomes in the end a saga about the malfeasance and hypocrisy of government and bureaucracy, and the inability of people who really want to do something different in life to achieve their dreams in the face of a society that only cares about the modern, mainstream, citified world. This is really beautifully shot (again, so it seems) and the editing I thought was just fantastic, with several different styles of cutting and shot-lengths used to contrast past and present, from rapid jump-cuts to more lyrical and dream-like voyages through memory. The use of music is also terrific and very restrained; there's a cool xylophone-dominated little jazz piece used in one domestic scene, and Bach's very familiar "Schafe können sicher weiden" from the Cantata BWV 208, one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever if you ask me, recurs several times, indicating that Mario's - and the director's - heart really does belong to the rural world, whatever may happen. The ending in which Mario and Delba's young song Rómulo has to fight for his life after a snake bite felt a little melodramatic to me, and hammered home the governmental awfulness theme perhaps a bit heavy-handedly, but the last scene on the river somewhat made up for that. A really solid film that I look forward to getting to see someday in better condition - seems exactly the kind of thing that Scorsese's World Cinema project was made for.
2. Kichicku GOOD
Spoiler
This was a much better copy and the visuals here are quite solid - it's a nicely-framed 1.85 that makes good use of both city and rural landscapes with a particular color palette that I tend to associate with the 1970s, though the camerawork and editing aren't anything like so inventive as in La muralla verde. What this really does have going for it is a terrific central performance by Ken Ogata as Sôkichi, a kind of stupid, naive, clueless guy who runs a small, struggling print shop with his overbearing wife Oume (Shima Iwashita) but who turns out to have been carrying on a secret long-running affair with another woman who has borne three children that she claims are his (something he believes but never confirmed). When wife and mistress meet of course there are fireworks, but the mistress quickly disappears, leaving the kids with Sôkichi and Ouma, who don't want them and don't have the wherewithal to take care of them - and Ouma is immediately abusive and unkind towards them, at the least. What starts out as a domestic drama with lots of shouting and fighting turns by the halfway point into something like a noir/crime picture, as one of the children dies under slightly sketchy circumstances, and it's clear that Ouma wants the others gone as well, with Sôkichi haplessly being pushed into doing the dirty work. I got to like this more and more as we see what happens to the middle child - a girl too young to remember her daddy's name or where she lives - and the older boy, who will be much harder to deal with, and Ogata has a great emotional scene where he breaks down in front of the boy, explaining his own childhood which mirrors what he's putting these kids through. But I thought the very ending, the sort of redemptive moments, didn't quite cut it; it felt all along like it was going to a much darker place, and the hopeful moments in the finale seem to betray that, to my mind. Still not enough to wreck the movie but it does knock it down a notch. This also has some interesting music; Yasushi Akutagawa's score mostly sounds like he's imbibed the romanticism of a Nino Rota or a Morricone in his more lyrical mood - but then the scene on the cliffs near the end is a pastiche torn straight out of Hitchcockian-era Bernard Herrmann. It all works, but it's a bit distracting.
Nice picks guys, off to a good start this round IMO.
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#17

Post by edward5 »

1. La muralla verde
2. 鬼畜 (The Demon)
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#19

Post by sol »

Thanks to both managers for their picks.

When filmbantha recommends a film called The Demon, you generally go in expecting an out-there horror movie, which this wasn't. Once I got over this, the film proved a pretty decent ride. The middle third of the movie was by far and away the best part for me with some thriller-like turns and nifty suspense sequences. I wasn't so big on the first and final third of the movie but I can easily see what Tom likes about it. It's definitely a film that benefits from being entered into knowing as little about it beforehand.

No Stars in the Jungle was one of the DTC nominees this year that I helped promote to the Official List, so I was excited and interested in seeing another jungle film from the director, especially since it sounded a lot like The Mosquito Coast, which is one of my all-time faves. The non-jungle flashbacks were my least favourite aspect of No Stars though and there were even more of these in The Green Wall. I guess watched with different expectations, I might have liked the film more, but I didn't totally hate it or anything.

1. Kichiku / The Demon https://letterboxd.com/solh/film/the-demon-1978-1/
2. La muralla verde / The Green Wall https://letterboxd.com/solh/film/the-green-wall/
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#20

Post by joachimt »

The voting pattern in this match is insane. Only once the difference was more than one vote.

Image Kichiku: 9
Image La muralla verde: 8
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#21

Post by shugs »

1. La muralla verde - 6/10
2. Kichiku - 4/10
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#22

Post by OldAle1 »

Wow all tied up here on the last day! Will there be another, tie-breaking vote before time's up? The suspense is EPIC!
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#23

Post by joachimt »

Countdown timer is in the OP. I'm probably not online anymore until a few hours after the deadline, but you can all count......
If there's still a tie at the deadline, a three day extension starts.
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#24

Post by Angel Glez »

1. La muralla verde
2. Kichiku

The Demon is a good choice, but The Green Wall is a masterpiece.
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#25

Post by joachimt »

Last vote by Angel was the final decision. Deadline over. Sacmersault wins.

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#26

Post by mightysparks »

What a weird round.
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