Plot: The film focuses on three city folks who unknowingly share the same apartment: Mei, a real estate agent who uses it for her sexual affairs; Ah-jung, her current lover; and Hsiao-ang, who’s stolen the key and uses the apartment as a retreat.
(From Allmovie Guide)
“At the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, this Taiwanese-French drama won a FIPRESCI Award, given by international critics. Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang previously won top awards for his 1994 Vive l’amour (at Venice) and 1996 The River (at Berlin). High strangeness is evident in the tale, originally initiated as part of the French TV series of one-hour end-of-millennium dramas. As an epidemic spreads through Taipei, virus victims display odd symptoms. A man (Lee Kang-sheng) who runs a food store with few customers lives in a shabby building in a quarantined section, and a woman (Yang Kuei-mei) in the same building has a withdrawn existence. A plumber, checking a leak, makes a hole in the man’s floor and leaves; the man then observes his neighbors through the hole. The film features four musical fantasy sequences that recall Hong Kong musical films of the ’50s.” — Bhob Stewart Continue reading
This second feature in Nacer Khemir’s Desert Trilogy is a visually ravishing folktale reminiscent of “The Thousand and One Nights.” The story revolves around Hassan, who is studying Arabic calligraphy from a grand master. Coming across a fragment of manuscript, Hassan goes in search of the missing pieces, believing that once he finds them, he will learn the secrets of love. With the help of Zin, a lovers’ go-between, he meets the beautiful Aziz, Princess of Samarkand. After encountering wars, a battle between false prophets and an ancient curse, he learns that an entire lifetime would not suffice for him to learn the many dimensions of love. Continue reading
Plot Summary: “In a remote mountain village, the teacher must leave for a month, and the mayor can find only a 13-year old girl, Wei Minzhi, to substitute. The teacher leaves one stick of chalk for each day and promises her an extra 10 yuan if there’s not one less student when he returns. Within days, poverty forces the class troublemaker, Zhang Huike, to leave for the city to work. Minzhi, possessed of a stubborn streak, determines to bring him back. She enlists the 26 remaining pupils in earning money for her trip. She hitches to Jiangjiakou City and begins her search. The boy, meanwhile, is there, lost and begging for food. Minzhi’s stubbornness may be Huike and the village school’s salvation.” Continue reading
Review (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
To Live is a simple title, but it conceals a universe. The film follows the life of one
family in China, from the heady days of gambling dens in the 1940s to the austere
hardship of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. And through all of their fierce struggles
with fate, all of the political twists and turns they endure, their hope is basically one
summed up by the heroine, a wife who loses wealth and position and children, and
who says, “All I ask is a quiet life together.” The movie has been directed by Zhang
Yimou, the leading Chinese filmmaker right now (although this film offended Beijing and
earned him a two-year ban from filmmaking). It stars his wife, Gong Li, the leading
Chinese actress (likewise banned). Together their credits include Ju Dou, Raise the Red
Lantern and The Story of Qui Ju. Like them it follows the fate of a strong woman, but
also this time a strong man; somehow they stick together through incredible hardships.
A sailor who was accused of killing a teenage girl and who was presumed to have drowned while making his escape, returns to the Mediterranean island where the alleged crime took place. But all is not what it appears. Robbe-Grillet keeps us guessing as to whether the murder actually took place and teases the viewer with the possibility that the sailor may be a restless spirit or a figment of the imagination conjured up by the victim’s father to assuage his own guilt. Too many questions and not enough answers make for a very frustrating investigation. Continue reading
Grand Prize, USA Film Festival
“A highly emotional personal essay on Christian anti-Semitism that weaves together history, autobiography and snippets of Hollywood films depicting the life of Jesus.”
–Stephen Holden, The New York Times
King of the Jews is a film about anti-Semitism and transcendence. Utilizing Hollywood movies, 1950′s educational films, personal home movies and religious films, the filmmaker depicts his childhood fear of Jesus Christ. These childhood recollections are a point of departure for larger issues such as the roots of Christian anti-Semitism.
King of the Jews explores the challenges and fears of being an outsider, of holding beliefs different from the mainstream. The myth that “the Jews” killed Jesus has been responsible for centuries of pain and destruction. After 2000 years, the wound is still open. The film uses the resurrection of Christ as a metaphor for personal renewal. Only by acknowledging past injustices can we get closer to our shared humanity. Continue reading