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Asian Films
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simon's ghost



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 188
Location: Montréal area, Québec, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:29 pm    Post subject: Asian Films Reply with quote

I thought we should have this topic again since I remember it was quite active in a previous version of the board.

Last night, I watched a very recent film called "Old Boy". I can't quite make my mind about it. It was captivating and well shot, great storytelling and superbly directed, but somehow, I couldn't enjoy it. The main idea around which the story evolves is just outright revolting and disgusting and I got too emotionally involved in the viewing. I can't tell more than that because it's the twist of the movie, but I can't remember being left in such shock after watching a film since the french "Irréversible" and Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem for a Dream". I think I'm still in shock 24 hrs later! I can hardly describe what I feel just telling you all about it now, but I get this bitter taste in my mouth... mixed with a quiet sense of horror.
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base of the pillar



Joined: 23 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw a "special" version of the Japanese movie "Battle Royal". If you don't know the movie. Its about a junior high class in Japan who get picked for a special program. Its a manor of societal control. The kids are all put on a deserted island, given weapons, and told that they have to kill each other down to one person. If they don't within 3 days then the collars they're wearing will detonate and kill them all. Think "The Running Man" with a much darker twist.
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simon's ghost



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seen that (Battle Royale). It was ok but more importance was given to the action than the concept, which was in itself interesting.
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simon's ghost



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah... i think I understand what you mean Sylphi, I mean what's up with the gratuitous gore in contemporary cinema? Sure, it's mindless fun sometimes, (like the House of Blue Leaves fight scene in Kill Bill vol.1), and other times, it provokes great emotional response when a scene needs to have a greater impact on the viewer in order to carry its message (like the -fake-rape scene in Perfect Blue), then you also have graphic stuff that will set the tone of the film, or the mood of a scene. However I also find that there are other ways to tell a story with more refined techniques and camera innuendo.

I don't think that asian cinema is any more violent than the rest. It does feature more hand to hand combat though, and for some reason, it doesn't seem as shocking to see a man instantly fall to the ground when hit by an unseen bullet from a distant opponent, making a tiny whole and spurting out a little blood, as it can be when you see a man's limbs being severed by sword held by an enraged man, gushing out pints of fluid before he falls to the ground in pains unheard of. Does that make sense?
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sonic
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It made sense until I got lost in the image, then I had trouble finding my way back through all the... blood...

Yeah, I don't think asian cinema is more violent than the rest of the world's films, it's just that you were talking about something revolting in a film so I ended up in that area. I do think that of the thousands of asian films that exist however we have a peculiar habit of giving a bigger presence to the more violent ones in the west. I think when I'm thinking of "violent" though I am thinking more of what you were describing, rather than the kind of martial arts films where there is violence but it just isn't in the same kind of heavy sense (softer like Jackie Chan films or those artsy sword-and-sorcery wire-flying epics). How often, for example, do light romantic comedies manage to get over here? Or more "normal" dramas? There are a diverse range of asian films to be found outside of asia, but a huge number of the ones we get seem to fall into only three or four groups (art films, martial arts, gangster/ultra-violence, fantasy). And don't get me wrong, I like a lot of those films, but it just seems odd...

Oh, and I also think that scene in Perfect Blue fit in and worked well in context with the plot. That anime had uncomfortable moments, but they were so vital in taking you through the story and Mima's developement/descent into confusion.


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Black Mamba



Joined: 23 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw Old Boy a while ago and, like you, cant seem what to make of it. So he had sex with his daughter.....? Excelent score though!

^^ And years later I reread my post. How dirty does that sound? NPI, by score I meant the music.

Quote:
Oh, and I also think that scene in Perfect Blue fit in and worked well in context with the plot. That anime had uncomfortable moments, but they were so vital in taking you through the story and Mima's developement/descent into confusion (or should that be Rumi's?). If that kind of stuff can be left out of a film, then it should; but if it isn't then I really want the writer to prove to me why it should be there in the film like that and the film (or it's point) overall better be good enough to be worth it. Otherwise, I feel a bit cheated and bitter for it existing.


Well said, Perfect Blue is one of my favorite animes. Actually the point of views .is randomly switch between Mima and Rumi. Hidden in the movie are clues as to which POV you are seeing, for example the fish tank. All of which makes you think Mima is going crazing. Satoshi Kon is amazing at making things so freaking confusing yet making sense all the same.

[edited to hide spoilers for "Perfect Blue"- sorry Black Mamba]
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AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Asian directors whose works I find consistently interesting, and some films I like:

Mainland China: Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou, La Wei (JOURNEY TO THE WESTERN XIA EMPIRE).

South Korea: Kim Ki-Duk, Kim Jee-Woon (A TALE OF TWO SISTERS).

Hong Kong: Wong Kar-Wei, older Ronny Yu (BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR, THE PHANTOM LOVER), any number of "heroic bloodshed", martial arts, and wuxia titles, and some romantic comedies.

Japan: Mizoguchi, Ozu, Akira Kurosawa, Inagaki, Kobayashi, Honda (esp. the original GODZILLA, THE MYSTERIANS, and MATANGO: ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE), Yoshitaro Nomura, Shohei Imamura, Seijun Suzuki, Yasuzo Masumura, Masahiro Shinoda, Keiji Fukasaku (esp. the BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY series and UNDER THE FLAG OF THE RISING SUN, although I enjoyed BATTLE ROYALE), Shinya Tsukamoto, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Shinji Aoyama, Miike's vastly underappreciated and completely atypical THE BIRD PEOPLE IN CHINA, "Beat" Takeshi Kitano's heartbreaking and equally atypical DOLLS, Shion Sono's SUICIDE CIRCLE, Tetsuya Nakashima's KAMIKAZE GIRLS.

Thailand: Chatrichalerm Yukol (THE LEGEND OF SURIYOTHAI), Nonzee Nimibutr (NANG NAK), Ittisoontorn Vichailak (THE OVERTURE).
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sonic
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wong Kar-Wai is the best!

What is your favourite film of his? I liked the maturer tone of "In the Mood For Love", but my favourite is probably still the "Chungking Express"/"Fallen Angels" films with their complementing stories and set-up. Has anyone seen "2046" yet? I still haven't seen it, and I was interested in the idea that it kind of brings back Tony Leung's In the Mood character (but in a very strange way)...
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Tonks_kittygoth



Joined: 28 Mar 2006
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Location: The dark dark woods where the kitten monsters live....or happy la la land, my summer home.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2046 was really beautiful, but long and depressing and creepy to me. All the reviews I read said it was a Sci Fi movie, so I went in expecting that. The Sci Fi bits are just intertext showing the writers work. (of course commenting on the whole) but the film is definitly not Sci Fi.

I dont think Mr. Q. T. nods, or bows or bellyflops, to Asian Cinema are stealing. He makes it well known he is a super fan boy. If he was stealing he would somehow try to be sneaky about it. (though the style is So obvious I dont see how) I actually like his films, though they do get too gross for me sometimes. Again, I think he is pushing the grossness to the point of absurdity divorcing it from any realworld conections. Monty Python does similar things. Like the fat guy what eats the last "wafer thin mint" and explodes. Im sure there is a word for this technique... maybe it is just "absurd" ...

AL!!!! Help! Im sure you know it.
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Tonks_kittygoth



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Location: The dark dark woods where the kitten monsters live....or happy la la land, my summer home.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, oh well, shrugs. Just one of those things then. Very Happy

At least we agree sparklie smily fuzzy bunnies are good! Very Happy
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AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Wong Kar-Wai is the best!

What is your favourite film of his? I liked the maturer tone of "In the Mood For Love", but my favourite is probably still the "Chungking Express"/"Fallen Angels" films with their complementing stories and set-up. Has anyone seen "2046" yet? I still haven't seen it, and I was interested in the idea that it kind of brings back Tony Leung's In the Mood character (but in a very strange way)...


Actually, 2046 also has a certain character from Days of Being Wild... Days, In the Mood for Love, and 2046 form a loose kind of trilogy, with the latter two films playing off of each other in a way that's reminiscent of the connections between Chungking Express and Fallen Angels, with one film "reworking" and commenting upon the other film's meaning-- sort of like a mirror or reverse image...

And the Tony Leung character changes between In the Mood for Love and 2046 is interesting... And I think you'll be able to make more sense of the stuff with the Carina Lau character (and of what Leung's character says about her) if you've seen Days of Being Wild.

My favorite Wong Kar-wai film? Let's see... I love the ones I've mentioned, and I hugely enjoyed Ashes of Time. And I really liked Happy Together; I think that and Ashes are his most underappreciated movies.

But I'd have to say that I loved Chungking and Angels and the trilogy (Days, In the Mood..., and 2046) the best.

Speaking of Happy Together and some of these other films, I was terribly saddened when a couple of years back when I read that Leslie Cheung had killed himself... Cheung's performances in Wong Kar-wai's Days of Being Wild, in Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine and Temptress Moon, and in Ronnie Yu's Bride With White Hair and The Phantom Lover are, I think, some of the finest performance of the 1990s.
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GhostLine



Joined: 19 Dec 2005
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Location: "the net is vast and infinite..."

PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
South Korea: Kim Ki-Duk, Kim Jee-Woon (A TALE OF TWO SISTERS).


probably one of the most beautifullly filmed movies i have seen.

as for asian cinema...my favorite has always been Kurosawa's "Dreams". The Village of the Watermills is really special to me.
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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sylphisonic wrote:
But you know, the list of things I don't like that everyone else hails as genius is as long as a Lord of the Rings trilogy, so what do I know? Only kidding- nothing is that long.


It's not an Asian film, but I'm a huge fan of Krzysztof Kieślowski's Decalogue-- ten short films, some interconnected, dealing with/commenting upon the Commandments and set in modern Poland.

(Wong Kar-Wei uses a piece from Preisner Zbigniew's score for one of the Decalogue films-- the "Thou Shalt Not Kill" movie, which was released in an extended version as A Short Film About Killing-- in 2046, so there is an Asian cinema connection...)

Decalogue was originally done as a television series, but the complete project was shown at film festivals, and it's more like a really long anthology film than what we'd think of as a television series... Seen in its entirety, the thing's over 9 hours long, and I didn't mind. It pays to see the "episodes" back to back, as one long film, so you can see the thematic connections between them.

I did think the LOTR trilogy was too long... I really didn't need some of the cheese at the end of Return of the King. Get on the freakin' boat already, Frodo...

Jackson's version of the Rings trilogy was visually impressive, but I had some serious issues with it. I prefer the director's wonderful Heavenly Creatures, but that's probably just me...

And I'll admit it: I loved Meet the Feebles. Sick, twisted stuff...

Anyway, back to Asian cinema:

I love A Tale of Two Sisters, GhostLine. It's kind of a reworking/tweaking of an old and often-filmed Korean folktale; I think the first cinematic version of the story was released back in the 1950s.

Kim Jee-Woon's version changes a lot of the original tale's elements, much to the film's benefit.

I've heard and read rumors that there might be a Hollywood remake of the film... <groans>

Kim Jee-Woon did a short film called "Memories"; it was part of the Saam Gaang live-action horror anthology (released Stateside as Three... Extremes 2). Pretty interesting, although the best of the three stories was the final one, "Going Home," directed by former John Woo Assistant Director-turned-Producer Peter Chan and filmed by Christopher Doyle, Wong Kar-Wei's regular cinematographer...

"Going Home" messed with my head and stayed with me for a long time. I won't tell you anything else, as even the vaguest plot description ruins the story's impact.

The anthology's other tale is "The Wheel", a cool Thai folklore-as-horror short by Nonzee Nimibutr, who directed the similarly-themed Nang Nak.

I dug this anthology because the stories weren't the usual creepy blue-skinned kid with bowl cut or similar girl with long hair/curse-which-spawns-franchise stuff of recent Asian horror films, because the stories had more than one level to them, because the directors made the choice to work without a lot of dialogue. Way better than a lot of horror films I've seen, and cooler than most anthology films...

And yeah, Dreams rocked. Not my favorite Akira Kurosawa film, but it's really amazing in its own right.
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Elmo



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Must resist urge to reel of a list of my DVD collection here since it's mostly korean or Japanese(no idea why Confused ) but recently I enjoyed the classic JSA from park-chan wook, he's the guy behind oldboy which i think someone already mentioned.(the other two films in his 'vengence trilogy' 'sympathy fo mr vengence' and 'sympathy for lady vengence' i haven't seen but they're supposed to be in the same vein as Oldboy Smile )

also from korea I've just watched R-point a horror film set in the vietnamese war, sorta like blair witch meets full metal jacket and everyone has syphilis for some reason, genuienly creepy and it has one magnificent OMGWTF!?! moment Twisted Evil and it's yet another one that's had rumours of a remake from hollywood the leech that we all know and love, I don't know why they are intent on filming inferior remakes of every film in the world but if they touch 'the third man' I'm going to hollywood with a cricket bat and coming home drenched in yuppie blood :evil:

..and now to show you how much of a hypocrite i am I'd like to recomend a remake Wink Zatoichi directed by and staring the ever wonderful Takeshi Kitano, 'Beat' Takeshi plays the blind swordsman himself. The film's plot follows a traditional theme, Zatoichi defending townspeople caught up in a local gang war, and being forced to pay excessive amounts of protection money. Zatoichi teams up with an old farmer, her gambling nephew and two geishas. (hilarity ensues, rollercoaster of fun etc etc Razz)
The violence is gory but beautifully stylised in a way that pays tribute to it's predecessors and their contemparies whilst always remaining progressive. Best thing about the film is that the sound track is in a large part produced by a tap dancing troupe who make the musical score out of actions in the film.(this is best seen during a scene in which the townspeople ressurect a house and the music is provided by the tools themselves) This all serves to remind you of Zatoichi's blindness and helps you connect with his world of sounds... um.. going on a bit of a rant I think so I'll just shut up now Wink
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Tonks_kittygoth



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Location: The dark dark woods where the kitten monsters live....or happy la la land, my summer home.

PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elmo says
Quote:
but if they touch 'the third man' I'm going to hollywood with a cricket bat and coming home drenched in yuppie blood
Twisted Evil

Yay, O please do!

I think I can set up a series of safe houses for you,....

Do you also like Night of the Hunter? Have you seen Odd Man Out? Ive heard it is very good, but cant find a copy to see.

Um ok, What is with the LotR bashing?
They skiped stacks of stuff in all three movies, granted they added silly orkies scenes but not many. They were way to short if anything.
Sorry but I have to say *Wimps*
also it reminds me of the Austrians emperor's comment on Mozart's music having too many notes.
Modern culture needs to find someway to re develope the concept of attention span.

What do you have that is better to do than watch intensly filmed archetypal heroic cycles?

Well whatever, too each their own, and this is my own. I loved them and hope they really do make the Hobbit, and I hope its super long so it fits in all of the book!
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Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as
one wants to live and not die, so do other
creatures." - His Holiness The Dalai Lama
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