1991-2000

Anna Biller – Three Examples of Myself as Queen (1994)

A hilarious romp that turns topsy-turvy the old Hollywood standards of female sexuality and pleasure, Three Examples of Myself… brings together three fantasies of how women would run things if they were on the throne of power. Remixing fluffy musical numbers with a definite feminist twist, director Biller creates a rebellious coquette for the 90’s–a kind of Sandra Dee meets Madonna–as she rules a harem in the Arabian Nights, rules over a hiveful of submissive drones, and even finds sexual liberation in the disco era. With a scoreful of delightful musical fantasies, the film delivers a magical twist to the notions of visual pleasure. With lyrics like “She is fertile, she is nice–She gives us good advice. She is everything we need!”, you simply can’t go wrong. — New York Asian American Film Festival Read More »

Ate de Jong – Highway to Hell (1992)

Quote:
Charle (Rob Lowe’s affably boyish younger brother Chad) and Rachel (delectable blonde hottie Kristy Swanson, who originated the part of everyone’s favorite bloodsucker-stomping high school cheerleader in the flop movie “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) are a sweetly pure and innocent young couple who make the usual mistake of driving down a remote desert dirt road. When Rachel gets abducted by the pernicious superhuman fiend Hellcop (hulking C.J. Graham; Jason in “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives”), Charlie literally has to go to hell to rescue Rachel within twenty-four hours or otherwise the Devil (a smoothly sneaky and ingratiating Patrick Bergin) will have her soul for all eternity. Read More »

Alfonso Cuarón – A Little Princess (1995)

Plot:
When her father enlists to fight for the British in WWI, young Sara Crewe goes to New York to attend the same boarding school her late mother attended. She soon clashes with the severe headmistress, Miss Minchin, who attempts to stifle Sara’s creativity and sense of self- worth. Sara’s belief that “every girl’s a princess” is tested to the limit, however, when word comes that her father was killed in action and his estate has been seized by the British government. Read More »

Tim Burton – Ed Wood (1994)

Ode to a Director Who Dared to Be Dreadful

“Ed Wood,” Tim Burton’s very good film about a very bad film maker, has a cheerful defiance that would surely have appealed to Orson Welles, who was Ed Wood’s hero. Late in the film, Welles appears (played deftly by Vincent d’Onofrio, who really looks like him) to advise Wood that independence is everything and that an artist’s visions are worth fighting for. Mr. Burton, currently Hollywood’s most irrepressible maverick, has taken that credo to heart. Read More »

Ki-duk Kim – Ag-o aka Crocodile (1996)

Quote:

I often quote Kim Ki-Duk as my favourite director of all time, partly because of his prolific output (I’m glad he numbers his films, I was losing count!) and his consistently emotional style. While I absolutely adore the “new-wave” Kim Ki-Duk (3-Iron, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…And Spring, The Bow), I also thoroughly enjoy his earlier, grittier films (The Isle, Address Unknown). This film, his debut, is possibly the best and grittiest of the early films. In a setting that stands somewhere between urban and rural, and filled with Kim Ki-Duk’s beloved water motif, we see three misfits (a boy, the title character Crocodile and an elderly man) inexplicably living together on a platform under a bridge. Read More »

Zhangke Jia – Xiaoshan huijia AKA Xiao Shan Going Home (1995)

Xiao Shan, a temporary worker at the Hongyuan Restaurant, has just been fired by his boss Zhao Guoqing. Deciding to leave Beijing and returns to his home in Anyang, he goes to see a series of people from his hometown who have also been living in Beijing -construction workers, train ticket scalpers, university students, attendant, prostitutes- but no one wants to go back with him. Dispirited and confused, he searches out one after another of his old friends who are still in Beijing. Finally he leaves his wild long hair, the symbol of his life in the city, at a roadside barber stand as his offering to Beijing. Seoul Independent Film Festival Read More »

Jem Cohen – Buried in Light (1994)

“A meditation on history, memory, and change in Central and Eastern Europe, Buried in Light is a non-narrative journey, a cinematic collage. Cohen’s “search for images” began at a time of extraordinary flux, as the Berlin Wall was dismantled—opening borders yet ushering in a nascent wave of consumer capitalism. What he saw struck him as a profound paradox: the moment Eastern Europe was revealed was simultaneously the moment it was hidden by the blinding light of commercialism. Cohen’s images are neither the tourist’s roster of picturesque vistas and monuments, nor the mass media’s definitive catalog of dramatic moments. Instead, he focuses on details, ordinary objects, and forgotten places—filming daily life as seen on the street.”
—Linda Dubler, Art at the Edge (Atlanta: High Museum of Art) Read More »