Takashi Miike – Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha (1999)


Handed a tedious script about a turf war in Shinjuku’s Kabuki-cho entertainment district (a maverick Chinese gang pulls a robbery which upsets organised crime; a care-worn cop lumbers towards a showdown with the troublemakers), Miike threw away half of it and used the rest as a springboard to amazing inventions. The exposition scenes are boiled down to an entire reel of ‘abstract’ action – a cataclysmic restaurant ambush, a gay man killed while sodomising a kid, the world’s longest line of coke, a homo-erotic knife-throwing act in a girlie bar – while the unrevealable ending is turned into the ultimate blast. In between, Miike offers a series of electrifyingly sad vignettes of death, failure and loss, including what must be the most disturbing stoned murder scene the genre has ever known. A future classic. (Time Out Film Guide) Continue reading

Maurice Pialat – Le garçu (1995)


Synopsis wrote:
A self-centered man (Gérard Depardieu) with many diversions occasionally visits his 4-year-old son (Antoine Pialat) and the boy’s mother (Géraldine Pailhas).

Janet Maslin @ Nytimes wrote:
Having played far-flung movie characters from Cyrano de Bergerac to a Disneyfied friendly ghost, Gerard Depardieu finds one of his most interesting roles closer to home. He plays a well-heeled, powerful Frenchman named Gerard in a new film by Maurice Pialat, the subtle and disturbing film maker with whom Mr. Depardieu has worked so well (in ”Loulou,” ”Police” and ”Under Satan’s Sun”). Continue reading

Kianoush Ayari – Boodan yaa naboodan AKA To be or Not to be (1998)


Imdb review
Life is Precious, 21 August 2000
Author: Martin Kohler (mkohler@geoscience.org.za) from Pretoria, South Africa
Having known someone who needed a kidney transplant, I was aware of the tremendous difficulty in finding a tissue matched donor organ. This film, which is about a heart transplant, brings out the desperation of the patient for whom there is no longer any other treatment option very clearly and realistically.

What I had not considered, and what this film made me aware of, is the extremely difficult position that the relatives of a deceased person are put in when they are requested to give permission for an organ donation. At this point they are already suffering from the shock and grief of having lost someone they loved, and this additional burden can test the limits of what they can bear. Continue reading

Catalin Mitulescu – Bucuresti-Wien, 8-15 (2000)


Film Festivals: Torino Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, CineFestival, KataWeb Cinema Festival…

Synopsis: Five o’ clock in the morning. Niki gathers everything valuable in his house. His wife and child are sleeping. He is leaving for Germany. He has bought a passport and will work illegaly. He is going with Cretu, his childhood friend. Leaving together will make things easier for them. But the voyage proves to be more difficult than they were expecting. Continue reading

Shunji Iwai – Love Letter (1995)


IMDB plot summary: Hiroko Watanabe’s fiancee Itsuki died two years earlier in a mountain climbing accident. While looking through his high school yearbook, Hiroko in a fit of grief decides to write a letter to him using his old school address. Surprisingly she receives a reply, not from her dead husband, but from a woman also named Itsuki whom had known Hiroko’s husband in school. A relationship develops between the two women as they continue to exchange letters and share memories of the dead Itsuke. Continue reading

Claude Chabrol – Madame Bovary (1991)


In nineteenth-century France, the romantic daughter of a country squire marries a dull country doctor Charles Bovary. To escape boredom, she throws herself into love affairs with a suave local landowner and a law student, and runs up ruinous debts. This film version closely follows Flaubert’s novel and includes most of the famous scenes, such as the wedding, the ball, the agricultural fair, the operation on the clubfoot, and the opera in Rouen. (IMDb) Continue reading