Ming-liang Tsai – Bu san AKA Good bye, Dragon Inn (2003)

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From Film Journal International:
By Ethan Alter

When you spend as much time in movie theatres as film critics and serious movie buffs do, you can’t help but wonder whether those spaces possess an inner life. What happens after the last show when the lights are turned off, the doors are locked and everybody goes home? Particularly in an older theatre, it’s easy to imagine a ghostly audience materializing in the empty auditorium as the projector flickers to life. That’s the setting evoked in Tsai Ming-liang’s latest curiosity, Goodbye, Dragon Inn. Unfolding entirely in a rundown movie theatre that’s closing its doors following the evening’s final show, the film is a slow, almost annoyingly deliberate piece of work that nevertheless lingers in your mind long after the credits roll. Continue reading

Ming-liang Tsai – Dong AKA The Hole (1998)

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(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customers lives in a shabby building in a quarantined section, and a woman (Yang Kuei-mei) in the same building has a withdrawn existence.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

Tso-chi Chang – Shu jia zuo ye AKA A Time in Quchi (2013)

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SYNOPSIS

At the end of the school semester, Bao is sent to Quchi to be with his recently widowed grandfather because his parents are considering a divorce. Depressed and sullen, he has to transfer to a small elementary school where he discovers that he shares the nickname, “Bear”, with a girl in his class.
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Yu Wang – Du bi quan wang da po xue di zi AKA Master of the Flying Guillotine (1975)

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Storyline:
The one-armed boxer is stalked by a vengeful flying guillotine expert, after his disciples were killed in the first ‘One-Armed Boxer’ film. But as the flying guillotine master is blind, he starts his quest by becoming a serial killer of one-armed men. Meanwhile, the one-armed boxer is running a martial arts school, where he teaches his pupils to control their breath so they can run up walls and along ceilings. And there’s an Indian fakir whose arms can extend until they’re ten feet long. As you may have gathered, a rational plot summary is pretty pointless – but rest assured there are epic martial arts battles and ludicrously inspired moments galore.

If you liked the “street fighter” or “mortal kombat” games, this movie is for you. Featuring various odd fighting style competetion, along with a “one-armed” hero, this is a classic that all kung-fu fans should see. Continue reading

Hsing Lee – Qiu Jue AKA Execution in Autumn (1972)

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Plot

Pei Gang (played by Ou Wei) was earlier sentenced by the magistrate to death for committing 3 cruel murders,even though he claimed that the killings were acts of self defense. We learnt that Pei Gang was in fact a spoiled brat and a bully. He also had a doting grandmother who promised that she’ll get him out of any trouble, including death row. Pei will not be executed until next Autumn, which gave him about one year’s time. When all efforts to get him out seem to fail, what will his next course of action be? The central theme of the story is not so much about his escape, but rather the transformation of this man from evil to good, from running away and blaming others into accepting responsibility for his actions and eventually, accepting his fate… Continue reading

Hsiao-hsien Hou – Zui hao de shi guang aka Three times (2005)

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Time out review
In 2000, a North American poll of critics and curators named Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Abbas Kiarostami as the most important filmmakers of the ’90s, echoing acclaim that had greeted a tour of the Taiwanese director’s work. Here, his standing’s very different: he remains largely unknown.

Unlike 2004’s ‘Café Lumière’ – the first of his films released here in over a decade – this triptych film should help to change that, since the styles and concerns of each story reflect phases in Hou’s career so far. ‘A Time for Love’ is clearly autobiographical: set in 1966, it sees a young guy fall for a girl employed at a pool hall, but military service keeps him away so long, she’s moved to another job by the time he returns. The second story, ‘A Time for Freedom’, is set in 1911 and resembles a silent movie; it depicts the relationship between a Chinese activist and a courtesan. Finally, ‘A Time for Youth’, set now, concerns the desultory coming together of a photographer and a bisexual rock star. Continue reading