Ben’s wife wants some attention. Ben’s boss wants some dedication. Ben’s father wants some grandchildren. And Ben just wants a minute to sort it all out in Wayne Wang’s gentle comedy, “Eat a Bowl of Tea.” In New York’s Chinatown of the late 1940s, young Ben Loy (Russel Wong), fresh out of the service, has his whole life spread out before him — including a job, an apartment, and a marriage arranged by his father (Victor Wong) to the beautiful Mei Oi (Cora Miao). But as eager as the couple is to see what America has to offer them, that’s how eager the whole of Chinatown seems to see some first-generation U.S. offspring. And when Ben’s celebrated young marriage threatens to crumble in the face of this pressure, it’s up to him to separate his dreams from his father’s, and to find a future for himself and his wife in their new adopted homeland. Directed by Wayne Wang, “Eat a Bowl of Tea” is a charming, warm-hearted film based on the classic underground novel by Louis Chu. (from DVD jacket.) Continue reading
Suspenseful for most of its length, though a letdown at the end, this psychic thriller is about four very different people who are drawn to one particular place in the town of Sopot, a resort on the Baltic Sea. The time is 1933, and it so happens that 50 years earlier, a foul murder was committed here. Involved in that offense were four people who are dead-ringers for the four now gathering in Sopot. The modern versions of the four dead people are a police commissioner, a schoolteacher, a hunchback, and someone who just happens to be visiting from Berlin. As the police commissioner begins to gather evidence, he comes to the conclusion that this murder might just be a cyclical occurrence. Continue reading
‘Marquis’ is the only film I’ve ever seen by the oddly-named Henri Xhonneux, but it’s so imaginative and entertaining that I’m eager to see more of his work. ‘Marquis’ alleges to be based on incidents in the life and novels of the Marquis de Sade. If you’re seeking a “Cliff Notes” crib-sheet about de Sade or his works, look elsewhere. On its own merits, though, this film is highly enjoyable for those with a taste for the bizarre. Some of the activities of the real-life Marquis de Sade were downright contemptible, but I intensely admire the tremendous efforts he took to write down his prose in prison (where he was forbidden to possess paper or writing implements) and to smuggle his text out of prison for publication. I was intrigued to learn that the Marquis was a prisoner in the Bastille until only a few days before it was captured by the revolutionaries in 1789; it now appears that de Sade actively fomented the riot of Bastille Day, shouting to the people outside that there were weapons and allies within the prison. Continue reading
Marisa Paredes is Leocadia (“Leo”) Macias, a woman writing “pink” romance novels under the alias of Amanda Gris that are very popular all across Spain. Unlike her romantic novels, her own love life is troubled. Leo has a less than happy relationship with her husband Paco, a military officer stationed in Brussels then later in Bosnia, who is distant both physically and emotionally.
Leo begins to change the direction of her writing, wanting to focus more on darker themes such as pain and loss, and can no longer write her Amanda Gris novels, whose publishers demand sentimental happy-endings, at least until her contract is up. Continue reading
Puissance de la parole is a 25 minutes film made by J-L Godard in 1988. Was financed by France Telecom as a commercial but the company never used for advertising… The film was never officially distributed nor broadcast.
The title is ispired by a Edgar Poe short story (in New extraordinary stories). Godard take some lines from the dialog of Agathos and Oinos and turns it into a classical Godard couple dialog… Continue reading
“Things are never crazy in and of themselves. They only seem so from the outside.”De två saliga
(The Blessed Ones
or The Blessed Pair
) is a 1986 made-for-television film directed by Ingmar Bergman, with a screenplay by Ulla Isaksson, based on her novel of the same name made two decades earlier in 1962. Isaksson’s novel, heavy in Christian imagery, follows a psychologist as he becomes more and more obsessed by Viveka and Sune, a former patient and her husband. Continue reading
The dramatic arc of Friedliche Tage was developed from images and the people who sustained those images. As long as the film is set in the building where the executions are carried out and the delinquents await their end, the tale is told with “classic” suspense. After Hanna leaves there with Robert, her potential executioner played by Branko Samarowski the traditional, linear narrative form dissolves into individual motifs; images that taken together show that these two, as a couple, can’t manage in the “normal” world. And in the end, some viewers are happy that the executioner returns to his old domain. He knows his way around there, he admits to being guilty of leaving. His career is advancing there. Happy ending? Continue reading