As Frédérique lies dead on her kitchen table at the hands of Christophe, police try to piece together the events that led to the gruesome killing. Frédérique’s teenage daughter narrates the tragic tale of love gone wrong.
Review by Kevin Vu: Though it possesses the voice of a notorious auteur, “Perfect Love” is one of Catherine Breillat’s lesser works. Despite being her sixth feature, the film seems like an early and minor effort, containing recurring elements explored in more accomplished films (e.g. “Fat Girl” and “Romance”), not to mention the sex and flesh that marries her reputation with vulgarity and controversy. Although Breillat has since found alternative outlets for her provocation and feminine rage, such as costume drama and fairytale, she has always challenged the conventional notions of sex using facets of the human body and soul that she strips bare – figuratively and literally. The plot here is not a matter of boy meets girl, and it never is for Breillat as she continues to reveal human depravity through sexuality. Continue reading
Review by Roger Ebert:
The people materialize from out of clear white light, as a belltolls. Where are they? An ordinary building is surrounded by greenery andan indistinct space. They are greeted by staff members who explain,courteously, that they have died, and are now at a way-station before thenext stage of their experience.
They will be here a week. Their assignment is to choose one memory,one only, from their lifetimes: One memory they want to save for eternity.
Then a film will be made to reenact that memory, and they will move along,taking only that memory with them, forgetting everything else. They willspend eternity within their happiest memory.
That is the premise of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “After Life,” a filmthat reaches out gently to the audience and challenges us: What is thesingle moment in our own lives we treasure the most? One of the newarrivals says that he has only bad memories. The staff members urge him tothink more deeply. Surely spending eternity within a bad memory wouldbe–well, literally, hell. And spending forever within our best memorywould be, I suppose, as close as we should dare to come to heaven.
It’s only natural that Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day begins with a shot of a barely-lit light bulb. On the set of a movie, a director reprimands an actress for harping on the color of her dress. “This is a black and white film,” he says, one of many references to the symbolic darkness that overshadows the milieu of the film. A Brighter Summer Day is itself in color, but it may as well be monochrome. Much of the film’s action takes place at night or inside dimly lit interiors, and it’s not unusual for the characters to be confronted by light and its almost political implications. Some of the best images in the film (young boys staring at a rehearsal from a theater’s rooftop; a basketball bouncing out of a darkened alleyway) pit light against dark—a fascinating dialectic meant to symbolize a distinctly Taiwanese struggle between past and present. From weapons to watches, objects similarly speak to the present. Like the light, these objects are constant reminders that the past can’t be ignored and must be used to negotiate the present. Continue reading
In Wong Kar-wai’s 1991 film Days of Being Wild, Yuddy (Leslie Cheung), a charming drifter captures the attention of store attendant Su Lizhen (Maggie Cheung) by asking her to look at his watch. When she sees that it says one minute before 3:00PM on April 16, 1960, he tells her that she will never forget the moment and will dream about him that night. The next time they meet, the moment becomes two, then one hour, then weeks and months but Yuddy is like the mythical bird with no legs that just flies and flies and never lands. Abandoned by his real mother and brought up by a wealthy alcoholic courtesan (Rebecca Pan), he does not know where he came from or where he is going. He treats women with little respect, discarding them when they no longer serve his purpose. When one lover asks him if he loves her, he tells her that during his life he will be friends with many, many women but won’t know whom he truly loves until the end. Continue reading
A documentary on the Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien that explores the complexities of political and social life in Asia and how it affects his films. Hou returns to the setting of his youth to talk to childhood friends and discuss his films. He visits old neighborhoods, film locations, and favorite haunts. Clips from the director’s work are interspersed with colleagues’ comments on Taiwan’s new wave film history and the famed director’s place in it. Continue reading
Defying by his parents, Hsiao Kang drops out of the local crammer to head for the bright lights of downtown Taipei. He falls in with Ah Tze, a pretty hood and their relationships is a confused mixture of hero-worship and rivalry that soon leads to trouble.
When the young Jeanne finds out that she could have mistakenly been exchanged, from her cradle, with another newborn (the son of a famous piano player), she decides to contact this family, not really thinking that this could be the truth. After she tells this to the presumed father and the rest of the family, even the son of the piano player starts having more than one doubt about his origins, and all this will lead to the discovery of a murder committed many years before by the second wife of the musician. The story is a pretext to dramatize the misdeeds and the hypocrisy of the French upper class members, shown without pity: the coldness between the family members, hidden by a false happiness; the lack of real feelings; the unbearable ‘bon ton’ of the mother, and so on. (IMDb) Continue reading