Asian

Heinosuke Gosho – Entotsu no mieru basho AKA Where Chimneys Are Seen (1953)

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Quote:
Winner of the International Peace Prize at the 1953 Berlin Film Festival and considered “one of the really important postwar Japanese films, Where Chimneys Are Seen focuses primarily on the interconnected lives of two couples in a lower-middle-class neighborhood in Senju, a poor industrial section of Tokyo. The narrative is structured as a series of juxtaposed scenes that dramatize this connection and show the cause and effect of events on the couples’ lives. As part of this structure, there is the central motif of the chimneys and the kinds of “lyrical” interludes for which Gosho is famous. Read More »

Hiroshi Inagaki – Muhomatsu no issho AKA The Life of Matsu the Untamed (1943)

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This simple human-interest/love story belies the cinematic triumph of its creation. Although shown in 1981 at Japan House in New York, the film dates from 1943 and so was obviously first released in Japan during WWII. Its director, Hiroshi Inagaki remade the same story in 1958 with Toshiro Mifune in the starring role. In both versions of the story, somewhat less sentimental in the first try, the setting is the early 20th c. An unlettered but inwardly noble rickshaw man (Tsumasaburo Bando) has his heart-strings pulled by a little boy whose father, Captain Yoshioka, has been killed in the line of duty. As Muhomatsu (the rickshaw man) gradually assumes the role of surrogate father to the child, he begins to fall in love with the mother (Keiko Sonoi). The mother, however, is far above the illiterate Muhomatsu and their disparate social status offers no encouragement for the realization of his deepest feelings. Read More »

Kaige Chen – Sacrifice (2010)

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Storyline
Sacrifice (Orphan of Zhao Family): To save the only child of the Zhao Family, whose whole clan is massacred at the hands of a nefarious minister, a doctor sacrifices his own son, and later becomes intent on seeking vengeance against the minister after the child grows up. For generations, the Zhao family has wielded power, even extending over the king. In a well-planned coup, their mortal enemy TU’AN GU (Wang Xue Qi) slaughters the entire clan, determined to wipe out their influence forever. However, a solitary Zhao baby survives the massacre, and is hidden and taken home by CHENG YING (Ge You), the doctor who delivered him, to live with his WIFE (Hai Qing) and their own newborn baby. Set on revenge, and raising the Zhao child as his own, Cheng Ying bides his time, enrolling himself and the Zhao orphan (whom he calls Cheng Bo) into the service of the Tu’an Gu household. Tu’ an Gu grows very fond of Cheng Bo and makes Cheng Bo his godson… Written by BronzeKeilani26 Read More »

Tokuzô Tanaka – Daisatsujin orochi aka The Betrayal (1966)

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Synopsis:

An absolutely fabulous film, featuring an extended fight scene (~10minutes!) that is the best since SWORD OF DOOM! Far and away Raizo Ichikawa’s best fighting ever!!! He plays an honorable clan retainer and assistant sword instructor who goes on the road after the lord’s nephew murders a neighboring clan samurai, thus taking the heat for the crime. His trusting nature leads only to the ultimate betrayal.
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Dharmasena Pathiraja – Soldadu Unnahe AKA Old Soldier (1981)

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Though veteran director Dharmasena Pathiraja was noted for his leftist leanings, he said that the Marxists were “out of touch with the realties of the people, their material conditions, power, and even their powerlessness.” In his 1981 drama, Soldadu Unnahe, Pathiraja depicts the realities of four friends: a soldier, a prostitute, a pimp and an alcoholic who take refuge under a Nuga tree from the loud, warlike celebration of Sri Lankan independence. The fireworks and planes overhead give the soldier of the title flashbacks, reminding him of his experiences in World War II at the end of the British Raj. What have these four unfortunates gained from independence, and what is their future? Chosen the best film of the decade 1980-1990 by the Catholic International Cinema Organization. Awards/Festivals: Sri Lankan Presidential Awards for Best Film and Best Director; Eighth Indian International Film Festival; 16th Singapore International Film Festival 2003; Jeonju International Film Festival 2009. Read More »

Ki-duk Kim – Shi gan AKA Time (2006)

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South Korean maverick Kim Ki-duk takes a scalpel to the local obsession with
appearances in “Time,” in which a young couple resort to plastic surgery to perk their relationship — with unexpected results. Though typically centered on a high-concept idea, film is more of a conversation piece than Kim’s usual pics, recalling recent works by fellow Korean helmer Hong Sang-soo, with its coffee shop meetings and ironic playfulness. Largely going the distance, this one looks to appeal to Kim’s established fanbase rather than make new friends, and has already been sold to 15 territories, mostly in Europe and Latin America. Read More »

Hsiao-Hsien Hou – Feng er ti ta cai AKA Play While you Play AKA Cheerful Wind (1981)

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The pop-star leads from Hou’s first feature, Cute Girl, are reunited in the director’s follow-up, a brisk work of bubble-gum romance that begins to experiment with the rules of the genre. This time, Taiwanese singing sensation Feng Fei-fei plays Hsing-hui, a trendy photographer visiting a seaside village in Penghu with her successful boss/fiancé. When she happens upon a flute-playing medic blinded in an ambulance crash (Kenny Bee), sparks fly, songs are sung, and she’s left with the tough decision of who to say “I do” to. Despite the eye-rolling premise, Hou infuses the film with enough formal ingenuity (long takes, telephoto lenses, on-location shooting) that a case can be made for its auteurial significance. Read More »