MUBI Directors' Cup


In those bygone halcyon days of last year when the newly renamed MUBI was still known by the infinitely superior moniker The Auteurs, a few of us organized a competitive cinematic event called The Auteurs World Cup 2009. To the consternation of others involved, I jokingly and affectionately referred to the event as Dorkapalooza, but in all honesty, the event was a film geek's wet-dream-come-true. It was conceived by a user named Kenji, and he and another user named Apursansar were the chief organizers, with me and a few others pitching in to make hard-to-find films available for online viewing.

The conceit was a simple one--to follow the format of the real football World Cup and to form 8 brackets composed of 4 national/regional teams, whose managers would select 3 films to pit against 3 films selected by the opposing managers. It attracted what could be called a moderately successful interest from The Auteurs community, but it did catch the eyes of some power players in the cinephile community, namely CNN's cinema blog, They Shoot Films, Don't They?, and Martin Scorsese himself (or at least the guy or gal who manages his account at MUBI).

While it was indeed a tournament with some friendly trash talk involved--you ain't never heard such whack trash talk as can be found among film geeks--the format was in reality a conceit that would help the contestants and voters discover new films and to rediscover and reassess canonized classics. And when the smoke cleared, the final four teams were--to the surprise of many--Japan, China, India, and Africa. China and India defeated Japan and Africa respectively in close semifinal matches, and China triumphed in the championship match, in the process exposing The Auteurs community to Wang Bing's epic sculpting-in-time documentary Tie Xu Qu: West of the Tracks among others.

Now some 6 months later, the nerd brigade--scratch that, dedicated cinephiles--have struck again to stage what I affectionately refer to as Dorkapalooza Redux. New twists have been added to the competition, this time pitting 128 filmmakers from around the world in a one-film-versus-one-film, single elimination tournament. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the Directors' Cup.

And Dr.Strangefilm, yours truly, is proud to announce that he will be the unofficial blogger for this event. Follow along, cheer, and jeer. Discover hidden gems, and revisit familiar classic. Watch these films and follow this blog for results featuring salient and entertaining commentary from the participants. Remember Dr.Strangefilm's credo: "Watch these films, and e-mail me in the morning." Cinema does you good.


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