Here are some updated links to a few reviews I’ve written for Cinetalk.tv:
Kwok Yun (Ke Shi) is a simple peasant in a small mining village. She is unmarried, but is having an affair with the school principal. Her life is turned upside down after she sees what could be a UFO, and helps a rich ‘American’ (from Germany!) after he has broken his leg.
The town suddenly finds itself the centre of attention, with an avalanche of tourists and money coming their way.
The town leader Chief Chang (Mandy Zhang) takes sees this an an opportunity to increase the prestige of the town, and is determined to make as much of it as possible.
UFO In Her Eyes takes a long hard look at the process of modernisation and how it alters and damages old ways of living. This is most obviously played with the state of the lake, which has been used by a local fisherman for years. It is slowly destroyed, and all the fish begin to die. It eventually becomes impossible for him to live.
The messages in the film aren’t as straight-cut as that, though. Kwok Yun’s story is fascinating and at times tragic, as various social factors force decisions on her. She is forced to find a balance between what is best for her, and what is best for the town.
Interestingly, locals were used for most of the roles, which give some depth to the townspeople – and ultimately helps to lift the movie and its messages.
UFO In Her Eyes is funny, tragic and an interesting analysis of two different faces of China colliding, and the fallout that this can cause.
One of the biggest, most expensive and downright epic films to come from South Korea. MY WAY begins a few years before WWII, when Japan had occupied Korea. Two young boys – one Korean and one Japanese meet – and each of them is very good at running. Due to the strains on the relationship between the two countries, the boys become keen rivals at various Marathon events.
Jun-Shik (the Korean) falls foul of politics and ends up being pulled into the Japanese army and fighting against Soviet Russian tanks, where he finds that Tatsuo, the other boy, is now a commanding officer who would rather shoot his own men than order a retreat.
The movie takes the two on a journey through Russia, most of Europe and ultimately lands on French beaches, where we see the Normandy invasion from the other side (by now, they are both fighting for the Germans).
The battle scenes are staggeringly big. Tanks roll across the screen, great balls of flame explode, bullets fly. There is also an emphasis on more personal fighting – swords and daggers are used as much as guns.
Remember that they’re both Marathon runners? There is A LOT of running involved.
The film is exciting, and thoroughly enjoyable.
The festival kicks-off today – and it’s where I’ll be living pretty much all this weekend. There’s a great selection of films, and some Q&A’s and other exciting bits and bobs thrown in. You can see the full programme, but my personal highlights are:
An EPIC WWII film. I caught an early screening, and a review will follow this post!
Well, I’ve had quite the busy few weeks – and this has kept me from posting as many things as I would have liked. This is what I’ve been up to:
I reviewed NORTH SEA TEXAS, which is the first feature film from Director Bavo Defurne. It closed the LLGFF and is on release now. In a way it’s a coming-of-age story, with Pim falling for the boy next door. It’s a tale of first love, and will appeal to anyone with an ounce of romance in their heart. I was also lucky enough to interview the director, producer and two of the stars: Part 1, Part 2.
Oh, and there was another Quiz at Genesis Cinema. They take place on the first Tuesday each month, 8pm.
AND I’ve been…
…working very hard at the Gate Cinema in Notting Hill. We’ve dabbled with late shows of DRIVE and matinees of A CAT IN PARIS, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet Werner Herzog! I may begin to mention more about this side of my life on the blog, as I think it’s something I have that makes me different from other film bloggers.
I visited the Gate Cinema on a day off to enjoy a double-bill of A Cat In Paris and then This Must Be The Place.
The first is a beautiful hand-drawn French animation following the adventures of a feline friend when his day-time family life and night-time burglar life become entwined with some local gangsters. The film is very funny; both for children and adults, and is entertaining throughout. Superior family animation.
The Must Be The Place is a little more complicated. The story of a rock star (played brilliantly by Sean Penn) who hasn’t played music for many years. He is living a life of boredom and routine, which is shaken up by the death of his father who he hasn’t spoken to since the age of fifteen. He goes on a quest to find the Nazi officer that tormented his father during WWII.
The film is essentially a road-trip. Characters come and go, other stories are touched on.
Overall I found the film to be very entertaining, with great performances. The main story arc didn’t quite work for me – it seemed to jar with the characters in the film (I realise that this may have been the point, though). It is a case of the journey being more pleasant than the destination, I guess.
Also, a fantastic soundtrack.