Takashi Miike – Kenka no hanamichi: Oosaka saikyô densetsu AKA The Way to Fight (1996)

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Kazuyoshi Tamai, a High School student in Osaka is a street fighter who can do serious damage. So far he has had no trouble wiping up the floor with the competition. One night, he sees several young men getting beaten up on the street. When he finds out the ringleader behind the beating is Takeshi of Tennan High School, he rushes to challenge him. But through a series of events, he is unable to fight him. Years later, Kazuyoshi has become Japan’s bantamweight boxing champ, while Takeshi is the toast of the pro-wrestling world. The two brawlers are about to meet at last in the match of their lives! Continue reading

Mark Hanlon – Buddy Boy (1999)

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PLOT SUMMARY :
Shy, withdrawn Francis spends his lonely days caring for his domineering invalid stepmother… until the arrival of beautiful Gloria, a new neighbor whose daily activities become the center of his life. However, he soon comes to suspect that she’s harboring a horrific secret, one that will change his life forever… Continue reading

Niki Caro – Memory & Desire (1998)

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PLOT SYNOPSIS:

Sayo and Keiji elope to New Zealand to get away from Keiji’s interfering mother. On their honeymoon they are free to express all their desires and passions, but just when it should be their happiest times, Keiji cannot make love and is accidentally drowned. As tradition dictates, Sayo must return to live with her mother-in-law. However, Sayo can only find a modicum of peace by returning to the New Zealand beach where Keiji drowned. NZ Videos Continue reading

Pedro Almodóvar – Todo sobre de mi madre aka All About My Mother (1999)

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There’s nothing so comforting as the florid straightforwardness of an Almodovar movie. “All About My Mother,” the Spanish director’s latest, is unapologetically passionate in the manner of his early movies like “Matador” and “Law of Desire,” and willfully unhinged like “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”

But “All About My Mother” cuts deeper than any of those movies. Like classic women’s pictures of the ’40s, it’s staunchly committed to the spirit of melodrama: There are tragic accidents that tear lives apart, impossible love affairs with dire consequences, people whose seemingly cold hearts reveal surprisingly warm recesses and, at the movie’s center, a man whose natural charisma spells trouble with a capital T.

And mostly, of course, “All About My Mother” is about the essential nature of motherhood — not the soft suburban American momhood in movies like “The Story of Us,” pictures where frazzled women are constantly dropping their kids off at soccer practice, their commitment to life’s chores like merit badges proving their love. In “All About My Mother,” a 38-year-old woman (Cecilia Roth) watches as her teenage son is hit by a car; when she runs to him and crouches over him in the rain, we see her sideways, tilted and blurry, from his fading point of view. Her red raincoat, which had seemed monumentally cheerful just moments before, is already a reproach, a useless remnant of what her life used to be. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Larmar och gör sig till AKA In the Presence of a Clown (1997)

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Inventor Carl Åkerblom is a rosy-cheeked 54 year-old admirer of Franz Schubert – and a patient in the psychiatric ward of Akademiska Hospital in Uppsala, after having attempted to beat to death his fiancée, Pauline Thibault. Together with another patient, Professor Osvald Vogler, they set up a film project: the living talkie. Before long, they set off on a frantic tour with their film, “The Joy of the Joyous Girl”… (IMDB) Continue reading

Júlio Bressane – O Mandarim aka The Mandarin (1995)

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Quote:
The history of Brazilian popular music in the 20th Century, focusing specially on the life and works of intriguing singer Mário Reis, a loner who, with his special way of singing – whispering and softly saying the words – in a time when singers with potent voices ruled, was in a way a forerunner of Bossa Nova style. Continue reading

Nicolas Philibert – Le Pays des sourds AKA Land of the Deaf (1992)

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IMDB –
“I saw this lovely documentary once, some ten years ago, and found it most rewarding. Its tone was dignified and understated, having a gently moving cumulative effect. The most salient impression I had of the film’s subjects was how expressive they were with their faces and bodies in revealing their emotions and thoughts. As a cinephile, I could not help but think of the vanished acting styles of silent cinema, of how so much had to be conveyed through purely visual means, and of how comparatively impoverished, from a visual viewpoint, so much modern cinema is. Rightly or wrongly, I perceived a more direct correspondence between feeling and expression in the people depicted in this film than is the norm among hearing people, and this suggested hidden treasures within these subjects’ lives that could be of benefit to us all. What has traditionally been seen as a handicap came to be seen as an inextricable, richly beautiful thread in the human tapestry, and this film must be conceded to be a masterpiece for showing us this truth.” Continue reading