World Cinema Cup
Every four years we come together to watch the ultimate football tournament. If you're a mad for it footie fan, this is your month. If you're a die hard world cinema fan, then we're here to give you a taste of that football fever. If you're football crazy and cinema mad, then allow us to overload your senses with the World Cinema Cup, a celebration of the beautiful game and the beautiful world of film.
We've assigned one film for each of the 32 teams competing in the Russia 2018 tournament. For the most part we have selected films that are clearly defined as being a product of a particular country, but there are occasions when we've had to get creative in order to keep the playing field level and interesting. In these cases we've looked for films that have a significant connection to a given country. For example, Tunisia is represented by Blue is the Warmest Colour. While to many this would be considered a French production, director Abdellatif Kechiche was in fact born in Tunisia. Another example is The Nile Hilton Incident which, despite the geo-tagged title, was filmed in Morocco. Rule is, if it doesn't make immediate sense, trust us that we've found a link! And we've limited ourselves to films available on Curzon on Demand so that you can watch all of the winners and losers as the tournament runs along.
We endeavoured to choose films that have had a theatrical release in the UK, but again there are occasions when this has proved tricky. Films from Panama and Costa Rica are in dire need of more exposure in the UK (note to selves). For Panama we selected Caja 25, a documentary by Delfina Vidal about the men who built the Panama Canal. For Costa Rica we've used Hernán Jiménez's About Us, an unconventional romantic-comedy-drama that deserved to be seen by more people.
Twists and caveats aside, we've a very strong selection of films, sure to make for some fierce play offs. There will be surprises. There will be outrages. And England probably stand a better chance here than they do in Russia. Most (not quite all) of the films are available to watch over on Curzon On Demand.
During the group stages, we will follow the Russia 2018 World Cup schedule. Teams will play against one another in unison with the football fixtures, with head to head polls running on Twitter at the time of play, each lasting for two hours only. Keep an eye on @CurzonCinemas so you can cast your votes in time.
Of course, the outcome of our games is likely to differ from out there on the pitches. So once we're through the group stages, the Curzon World Cinema Cup will do it's own thing, diverting from the games in Russia. Polls will still be timed along with the football World Cup, with our Quarters and Semis all occurring at the same time, but our teams will start to look very different.
Here are the groups, the teams and their films. Wouldn't want to be in Group H right now...
How the Group Stages Played Out
Here's an overview of how it all played out. In most cases there were clear winners and runners up, but for Group H we had to take it down to goal (vote) difference.
So we lost Embrace of the Serpent. Nobody saw that coming.
The England football team may have made it through the group stages over in Russia, but a similar success was not to be here in the World Cinema Cup. A Field in England was victorious in only one of its three group stage matches, so the tournament ends here for Ben Wheatley's field-tripping nightmare.
We also say goodbye to Portugal's Tabu and Germany's Victoria, Egypt's Clash and Australia's Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Round of 16
We've made it through the group stages (wow, there's a lot of football). It's at this point where the World Cinema Cup diverts from the 'real thing' out in Russia, as we're left with different teams to the football world cup. We'll still be timing our matches with the football fixtures, but things will play out quite differently here on in.
Let's take a look at who we have left...
All we can do now is play on. The 16 films we're left with are strong contenders for the quarter finals, everyone can agree. Here's how they will match up:
These matches are all very tough to call, and as always it's up to the voting public to decide who goes through to the semi-finals. We'll be back with an update soon. Follow us on twitter and join in by voting for your favourites. Don't forget you can watch all the competing films over on Curzon Home Cinema.