BBC Four World Cinema Award Panel

30th Jan (broadcast 2nd Feb) 2008 - the juries' discussion on the nominated films. Here's a transcript.

CE on 'Pan's Labyrinth':
"The central villain of the piece, I thought, was absolutely fantastic ... he shoots two children point blank and he still manages to hold your attention, and to a certain extent - with the backstory of the father and the broken watch - your sympathy... I mean, I've tried villains, and that, for me, is the way to do it. I thought it was brilliant."
[Later] "I thought it was very allegorical ... the message at the end, that the faun might have tricked her, is saying that if you sacrifice anything for change, make sure it's yourself. I thought that was very powerful."

CE on 'Climates':
"...I liked the technical credits, the cinematography, the use of sound, but I felt it was in the service of a story I was kind of overfamiliar with, this male existential angst, the inability to commit, I found it quite hard work. I found myself wishing in the first five minutes that we were going to follow the woman, because as a guy going to the cinema I'm used to following men, I wanted to know how a woman deals with that, sexually, socially, spiritually. I found myself on very familiar ground. Perhaps it's my life?"

Jonathan Ross [host of the debate] notes that the film's male lead is also its director, and the female lead is his real-life wife.

"Yeah, I felt there was a slight self-importance to that. A solemnity."

Nick Broomfield and Archie Panjabi [two other juries] look a bit depressed. They liked the film. Nick comments on the quality of the directing and Chris agrees. Nick also says the 'other woman' in the film was too unattractive to be credible, which Chris disagrees with. Archie liked the long pauses and felt that the sensitivity of a man writing about relationships was unusual enough for her.

'The Lives of Others'. CE on late Ulrich Muhe:
"I thought that his performance was fantastic. I felt that the director was more interested in that character than other characters. The other characters ... the writer and the actress, I felt, suffered and became more two-dimensional. But that role, in the internalisation of it with the actor and the externalisation of it through direction, design, the creation of his world, is fantastic. It's a great political thriller. It's a great thriller."

Chris agrees with Nick that the portrayal of the Stasi is terrifying. They quote Lenin at each other for a bit, something about stroking people's heads rather than smashing them in.

'The Science of Sleep'. CE:
"I found aspects of it really quite childish and quite indulgent, and then there were moments of absolute brilliance. For the first half I was struggling; I liked the film when it darkens. There's a scene where he's in his dream, and he's following his dream, and then he wakes up and he's in a corridor stark naked with the woman he loves. You think he could be becoming a danger to himself, or to her. I liked that because I felt I had something to hold onto. I loved the cut-and-paste animation. I really enjoyed that, because I get turned off by the completeness of CGI. I think [Michel Gondry] will make a great film, but this isn't it."

Nick Broomfield likes Gondry, and talks approvingly of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Chris mentions that it was written by Charlie Kaufman, and calls Kaufman brilliant. Nick also felt the film was poorly structured - or possibly not structured at all.

Final film - 'Syndromes and a Century'. Nick thinks there are wonderful individual moments and shots, but didn't feel it added up to anything. He suspects the structure of the film has something to do with reincarnation, but he acknowledges to not getting it. Archie found it confusing, albeit with sweet moments.

"I was absolutely fascinated and compelled by the film - I had no idea what was going on, but partly that's why I stayed with it. I thought the performances were brilliant, that sort of Loachian, understated... I think because I'm so used to seeing busy-busy-busy use of camera I liked the locked-off shots... I really enjoyed the film! I ended up having dreams about the film, it invaded me..."

Nick suggests that Chris was having dreams about chickens. He agrees.

"But to answer your question, the second half of the film - the repetition - did get wearing."

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Thanks to Sonic for relaying the transcript.