Plot Synopsis [AMG]
Widely regarded as a masterpiece of Spanish cinema, this allegorical tale is set in a remote village in the 1940s. The life in the village is calm and uneventful — an allegory of Spanish life after General Franco’s victory in the Spanish Civil War. While their father (Fernando Fernán Gómez) studies bees in his beehive and their mother (Teresa Gimpera) writes letters to a non-existent correspondent, two young girls, Ana (Ana Torrent) and Isabel (Isabel Telleria), go to see James Whale’s Frankenstein at a local cinema. Though they can hardly understand the concept, both girls are deeply impressed with the moment when a little girl gives a flower to the monster. Isabel, the older sister, tells Ana that the monster actually exists as a spirit that you can’t see unless you know how to approach him. Ana starts wandering around the countryside in search of the kind creature. Instead, she meets an army deserter, who is hiding in a barn. The film received critical accolades for its subtle and masterful use of cinematic language and the expressive performance of the young Ana Torrent. Continue reading
Jo Munkyung (Kim Sang-kyung) — a would-be filmmaker on the cusp of immigrating to Canada — bumps into old friend Bang Jungshik (Yu Jun-sang). The two sit down for drinks and reminisce about their summer vacations, which coincidentally took them both to the coastal city of Tongyeong. We discover their holidays overlapped in other ways, including separate encounters with Wang Seongok (Moon So-ri), a somewhat neurotic tour guide who Munkyung doggedly pursued. This typical late-period Hong setup is enhanced by a back-and-forth flashback structure (recalling the experiments of his earlier works), greater-than-usual levity, and a nearly screwball performance by Moon So-ri (Oasis, A Good Lawyer’s Wife). Continue reading
A young Polish woman (Hendrickx) on the run from a life as a prostitute winds up in a small town in Northern Holland. When a kindly farmer (Spijkers) finds her bruised and battered he gives her a roof over her head. Their relationship blossoms but is threatened by imminent foreclosure on the farm and by the girl’s past catching up with her. Stylish and intriguing.
This movie is a real character movie. Almost the entire movie focuses purely on just the two main characters. The characters don’t explain anything to each other about how and what. They just accept things as they are and don’t look back, even though the both of them, as implied, had issues in the past. They are definitely not at love at first but they also most certainly don’t hate each other. They slowly and steadily grow- and open up toward each other and also learn from each other, in many different ways. It doesn’t make this movie ‘just’ another unusual love-story but something that goes deeper and therefor also gets more effectively shown on the screen. Continue reading
Description: Yûkoku deals with the ritual suicide of high-ranking naval officer Takeyama. His harakiri is spun out as a long, emotional, romantic ritual in which he is joined (all the way to the bitter and graphically bloody end) by his wife Reiko. The film is based on Japanese author and playwright Yukio Mishima’s own novel of the same name, which was in turn inspired by the true events of ‘Ni ni roku’ – a failed, patriotically-motivated, attempted coup by a group of officers on February 26, 1936.
At a “half-open” detention facility and work camp on the island of Imrali, a group of hopeful, but resigned men ritualistically converge on the entrance of the main penitentiary ward: first, for the disbursement of weekly mail and subsequently, for the eagerly anticipated posting of the list of prisoners authorized for a one-week furlough. A soft-spoken, unassuming man named Yusuf (Tuncay Akça), dispirited by the scarcity of letters from home, seemingly finds his fortune changed when he finds his name among the privileged list of furloughed prisoners. Mehmet (Halil Ergün), a pensive and conflicted man faces his trip to Diyarbakir with great trepidation and anxiety, having found his marriage increasingly strained when his wife begins to question his role in her brother’s death during a bungled robbery.
A vibrant and self-assured young man, Mevlat (Hikmet Çelik), finds his romantic notions to reunite with his fiancée Meral (Sevda Aktolga) thwarted when her family dispatches chaperones in order to prevent the couple from being alone. An idealistic and apolitical man named Omer (Necmettin Çobanoglu) who daydreams of his idyllic life amid the lush, grazing open fields of his beloved village in south-eastern Turkey returns home to the chaotic sight of his town under siege by the military as they attempt to root out suspected insurgents in the closely knit community. Continue reading
Alex, 27, lives in a working-class Paris neighborhood and sells drugs for a living, continuously paying off the debts of his brother Isaac (played by French auteur Cedric Kahn), who’s becoming a real burden. When his cousin, who has just returned from completing his military service in Israel, tells him he’s opening a restaurant in Tel Aviv, Alex thinks that joining him might be the life-changing opportunity he was waiting for. But in order to leave, Alex must quickly find enough money and accomplish his “aliyah” (the term for Jews emigrating to Israel) which involves, among other things, Hebrew lessons and connecting with his Jewish roots. He also has to leave behind his beloved city of Paris, his former lover Esther, his lifelong friend Mathias, and Jeanne, a woman whom he’s just met but has the potential of becoming someone important in his life. Torn between making his aliyah, his drug selling, his complicated love life and a destructive brother, Alex will have to find his own way and make a final decision. Continue reading
One of the most visually beautiful movies ever made, Maboroshi no Hikari (1995) is reality filmmaker Kore-eda Hirokazu’s impressive first foray into fictional storytelling. For Maboroshi, Kore-eda turns his documentary director’s eye on the rugged landscape of the Western Japanese coast, which serves as a starkly sublime backdrop for a tale of one young woman’s grievous loss and promise for spiritual renewal. The film draws on the traditions of Japan’s past directorial masters Ozu and Mizoguchi, but it’s also full of gorgeous moments that are purely Kore-eda’s own. Maboroshi no Hikari anticipates the director’s later narrative filmmaking masterpieces After Life and Nobody Knows, as well as featuring an early performance from international star Asano Tadanobu.
Twentysomething Yumiko (Esumi Makiko) and her husband Ikuo (Asano) live in a small, run-down apartment in Osaka with their infant son. The young couple seems content with their life, but when Ikuo inexplicably commits suicide, Yumiko’s entire world falls apart around her. Accepting an arranged marriage in a small fishing village on the Sea of Japan, Yumiko and her child attempt a fresh start. Although she soon comes to love the raw beauty of her new home, Yumiko remains haunted by the memory of Ikuo and the mystery surrounding his sudden death. (~YesAsia) Continue reading