In Japan in 1701, Asano, the daimyo of Ako, assaulted Kira (Rie Miyazawa), an official of the Shogunate, in Edo Castle, for which offense he was ordered to commit suicide. The following year, one of Asano’s former retainers, Kuranosuke Oishi (Ken Takakura), gathers a group of his lord’s other followers and with them plots to take vengeance on Kira, whom he holds responsible for Asano’s death. Continue reading
You Can’t Take It with You is a classic case of good old-fashioned American optimism, a celebration of family and small-town values courtesy of Frank Capra, who made a distinguished career out of such things. By the time of its release in 1938 films like It Happened One Night and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town had already made Capra a household name, a premiere chronicler of the Depression era national mood and a primary spokesman for cinema’s ability to serve as a tonic, spreading good cheer among audiences that had experienced too little of it.
That history looms over every frame of what is one of the original quirky family dramedies, a direct ancestor of the entire genre of independent filmmaking devoted to such ventures today. It instills even the more banal, dated moments with particular resonance. One can sense in Capra’s joyful indulgence of the sheer chaotic nature of the life of the Sycamore family a fervent quest to entertain by outdoing even the most outlandish antics displayed in the film’s contemporaries, which remain some of the most memorable screwball comedies ever made. Continue reading
Victoria, a young woman from Madrid, meets four local Berliners outside a nightclub. Sonne and his friends promise to show her a good time and the real side of the city. But these lads have gotten themselves into hot water: they owe someone a dangerous favor that requires repaying that evening. As Victoria’s flirtation with Sonne deepens into something more, he convinces her to come along for the ride. And later, when things become more ominous and possibly lethally dangerous for Sonne, she insists on coming along. As the night takes on an ever more menacing character, what started out as a good time, quickly spirals out of control. As dawn approaches, Victoria and Sonne address the inevitable: it’s all or nothing and they abandon themselves to a heart-stopping race into the depths of hell. Continue reading
Ben’s wife wants some attention. Ben’s boss wants some dedication. Ben’s father wants some grandchildren. And Ben just wants a minute to sort it all out in Wayne Wang’s gentle comedy, “Eat a Bowl of Tea.” In New York’s Chinatown of the late 1940s, young Ben Loy (Russel Wong), fresh out of the service, has his whole life spread out before him — including a job, an apartment, and a marriage arranged by his father (Victor Wong) to the beautiful Mei Oi (Cora Miao). But as eager as the couple is to see what America has to offer them, that’s how eager the whole of Chinatown seems to see some first-generation U.S. offspring. And when Ben’s celebrated young marriage threatens to crumble in the face of this pressure, it’s up to him to separate his dreams from his father’s, and to find a future for himself and his wife in their new adopted homeland. Directed by Wayne Wang, “Eat a Bowl of Tea” is a charming, warm-hearted film based on the classic underground novel by Louis Chu. (from DVD jacket.) Continue reading
Isolation and loneliness are the dominant feelings in Youssef’s life after getting divorced from his wife who took the only son they have to live with her. He counts the days till he sees his son once a week. He plays with himself gammon, brews himself some tea and makes breakfast. He deals with everyday adversities with silence and stoicism. He secretly steals his electricity from a neighbor. He reacts to getting a parking ticket with a shrug of his shoulders. He endures his employer’s degradations and double-dealings. When female customers talk of their annoyances regarding their fiancées or other men, he simply doesn’t listen. He’s also come to terms with being the only one around without a mobile phone. Sometimes he takes long drives with his taxi in the streets of Amman or meet up with his friend and talk about his troubles. Suddenly, he finds himself in a serious situation when the doctor tells him about the necessity of having emergency surgery. So he is in the dilemma of the choice; either he has an operation, or buy his son the dog before the stepfather with whom the child lives does… lots of details… single shot scenes… a tone takes you through this isolated world… his taxi running in the streets of Amman compelled to live with his loneliness, dominated by oppression endured by all of us at the times of economic and social grinding crises. Continue reading
Simon of the Desert is Luis Buñuel’s wicked and wild take on the life of devoted ascetic Saint Simeon Stylites, who waited atop a pillar surrounded by a barren landscape for six years, six months, and six days, in order to prove his devotion to God. Yet the devil, in the figure of the beautiful Silvia Pinal, huddles below, trying to tempt him down. A skeptic’s vision of human conviction, Buñuel’s short and sweet satire is one of the master filmmaker’s most renowned works of surrealism. Continue reading
The life of a boy in his adolescence takes a turn when his relationship with his mother and father is exposed.
Costas Zapas’ debut film. Continue reading