Friday, September 9, 2011

World In Film Blog-a-Thon

Alan the crazy guy behind The Great Movie Project (a movie review a day for 365 days?! That means no time off for good behaviour) came up with the World in Film Blog-A-Thon without realising that we're all surely going to have to choose the same movie for Antarctica.

The Challenge: Pretend you’re taking a geography class and your instructor wants you to pick a movie that is set (or filmed) in one of each of the seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America. The movies do not have to be “authentic” but they should be reasonable facsimiles of the continents. They can be in any language, any country, any genre, and feel free to sub-theme these movies in any way that grabs your fancy.

Choosing a theme that works with Whiteout was difficult. I'm not sure I've succeeded but I'm definitely intrigued by what everyone else comes up with. My theme? People living on the outskirts of society.

Antarctica - Whiteout (2009)

It was an interesting idea for a movie but the end product really wasn't very interesting at all. I'm told the graphic novel it was based on was quite good though. A jewel heist in the most remote place on the planet?

Australia - Animal Kingdom (2010)

Australia. My home. Not really a continent. More of a bloody big rock with some desert wrapped around it. I didn't love this film as much as most other viewers but it certainly is one of the best Australian films I've seen. A slow moving look at an underworld family, worth watching if it's only for Jacki Weaver.

Europe - Down Terrace (2009)

Initially my pick was going to be non-English, specifically A Prophet, but I couldn't resist another opportunity to share how much I love Down Terrace. It took me completely by surprise and introduced me to a very talented director. Another slow moving look at the inner workings of an underworld family. Full review here.

North America - Sin Nombre (2009)

The violent documentary like film from the director of the new Jane Eyre. Take a journey through the North American underworld with a young girl as she dreams of moving from Honduras to USA. Powerful and compelling viewing.

South America - City of God (2002)

Often called the Brazilian Goodfellas this is one of the greats of modern world cinema. A look at the everyday reality of Brazilian poverty, crime, drugs and violence through the connected stories of two young friends who take different paths in life. If you haven't seen this yet then stop reading and go watch it.

Africa - Tsotsi (2005)

A week in the life of a young thug in the Johannesburg slums. It's not quite City of God but it's another eye opener and well worth seeing. Turns out that it won the Oscar in 2006, probably because this film is more about hope than despair.

Asia - Bad Guy (2001)

Kim Ki-Duk takes another look at the underside of love and obsession in this wonderfully dark film set in the underworld of Seoul. This isn't machine guns or organised crime, it's not chocolate boxes and roses, it's dirtier than that, it's grimy and bleak and mesmerising.

Comparatively they make Whiteout look tame. A fun exploration of great world cinema though. I can't recommend the other six films highly enough.


  1. I'm afraid this blogathon's a little too much for me. I know, I'm lazy, but I commend you for doing it.

  2. Hmm I'd never heard of Whiteout, I like the other choices though. I'm not taking part but would have gone with The Thing, or Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World.

  3. The 'Whiteout' GN was excellent. I had high hopes for the movie, but I guess they can't all be winners.

  4. Nice entry to a blog a thon that I have never heard of!!

    Whiteout was shocking wasn't it? I can't remember liking it at all.

    Yeay for Down Terrace. You have reminded me I need to do a review of said film still!


  5. We had one of the same movies this time around (and with the same caveat, no less). Nice list. I'm looking forward to Tsotsi when I burn my way through my Netflix queue to where it's currently sitting.

  6. Glad to see you chose Sin Nombre for North America. Very good directorial debut from Cary Fukunaga and a lot more people should see this film.

  7. Man, everyone is picking Sin Nombre ! Mine was South America though ... am I wrong? I guess it's a 50/50 choice huh..

    Animal Kingdom is great, I'd love to see more Australian cinema like that, if there is any hah.

    Nice picks!

  8. Sin Nombre would fall under South America, but I am will to ignore this minor detail as it is a really good film.

    Very good list overall though. Agree with all the ones I have seen on your list. I still need to catch Down Terrace, White Out and Bad Guy

  9. Good theme choice! I have yet to see most of these (I especially have to get on with CITY OF GOD and SIN NOMBRE, sheesh) but I enjoyed reading your thoughts on them! And cool to see mention of DOWN TERRACE, I liked that movie a lot.

  10. To my eternal shame I have yet to see Animal Kingdom. I am trying to rectify this.

  11. @TYLER - it's not lazy, although you could have made it easy for yourself if you'd preferred to do as little work as possible.

    @BT - I have to admit to having not seen either of your suggestions i'm afraid. but i wanted to stay away from documentaries about Antarctica as it felt like cheating a little if i didn;t use docos for every continent.

    @RICH - so it's worth checking out if it ever comes through my shop?

    @SL - if you didn't like it then it must be bad! I've had Alan's banner for the blogathon on my page for weeks by the way.

    @ALAN - Thanks for coming up with the idea my friend.

    @CASTOR - I find it hard to juggle the fact that the same director who made SIN NOMBRE also made JANE EYRE.

    @ANNA - I think you;re right in saying it could be SOUTH AMERICA but I chose NORTH so I didn't have to pick a film from USA and still leave my choices open to the many great films made in the SOUTH.

    If you haven't seen THE PROPOSITION, that is a superb AUSTRALIAN film that I highly recommend. Also Bonjour Tristesse recently recommended THE GODDESS OF 1967 to which whilst not being similar in content is from teh looks of it an Aussie film well worth seeing.

    @CS - MEXICO is in NORTH AMERICA, HONDURAS is in CENTRAL AMERICA so it could go either way and it was partially funded in USA so I gonna argue the geography as ALAN anticipated when he came up with the idea!

    Please don't bother with WHITEOUT. But do see the other two.

    @ALEX - It's always good to hear DOWN TERRACE get praised. But yeah where have you been if you managed to miss out on CITY OF GOD?!

    @RODNEY - I get it, you're Australian. It's not essential. You live the movie!

  12. Love City of God. That would probably be my pick as well for South America.

    Never heard of Tsotsi. Sounds like something I would dig, though.

    Nice list, man!

  13. @ERIC - it's definitely worth seeing, although compared to CITY OF GOD it might be a let down.

  14. I completely agree on City of God. It's the best Brazilian film I have ever seen.

    As for the other movies I hadn't even heard of Bad Guy. I at least have seen, or know something about the others.

    Off the top of my head The Thing (1982) also takes place in Antarctica, and Shackleton (2002) would also probably apply. I'm not sure how much better either would have fit with your theme than Whiteout did, though.

    I had to laugh at your description of Australia as "a bloody big rock surrounded by desert."

  15. CHIP - If you feel like trying Korean cinema then for me there's nobody in the same class as KIM KI-DUK. The movies i've seen have so much beauty in them despite the occasional horror and violence shown on screen.

    Antarctica was so difficult, most films shot there were documentaries. I actually haven't seen THE THING so I couldn't even consider it.

  16. Excellent Post. I wouldnt know what to select for Antarctica but the rest would be the following:
    North America: Shortbus
    South America: XXY
    Europe: Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days
    Africa: Nowhere in Africa
    Asia: Lady Vengance
    Australasia: Head On

  17. @mrg - I second your suggestion of XXY as a South American movie to see. Ines Efron did a really great job in the film.

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