Thursday, March 23, 2006

Saving face

Country: USA 2004

Picture imdb
Details savingface

Seen 23 March 2006
Joan Chen is the 48 year old widow who finds herself pregnant. Father of the child is unknown. Wil (Michelle Krusiec) is the gay daughter who falls in love with Vivian (Lynn Chen) who happens to be the daughter of Wil's boss. Add to this, the patriach of the family who holds true to traditional ways and you get a delightful little story. Entertaining. There is even a sly take on Joan Chen's previous films in one of the scenes. Joan Chen herself is marvelous to watch. Fine acting, subtle mood changes from the perspective of a concerned mother, dutiful daughter and bewildered single expecting mother. The supporting cast and good script gave credence to the whole plot. Recommended.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tropical Malady

Country Thailand 2004

Picture and details imdb

Seen 15 March 2006

The title is very apt. Even though the story line focuses on love between two man, there seems to be something amiss in the background. The director tells the story in two parts. The first half depicts the growing bond between the two lovers. The second gives us another perspective to the story - the darker side. There is an element of folklore mixed with an idealistic version of love. It is a slow moving story. The director acknowledges that if he had his way, the film would have lasted longer. He likes to show details and lets the picture tell the story.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Country: Iran 2000

Picture imdb
Details rottentomatoes

Seen 9 February 2006
The film begins with a group of teachers looking for students. The story highlights two of them. One encounters a group of children who are go-betweens across the border carrying contraband goods, whereas the other teacher meets up with refugees who were going back to their village. Throughout their adventure, the two teachers try to entice their respective flock into learning how to read and write. The two were doggedly persistent in their pursuit to spread knowledge in whatever situation they found themselves. Certain scenes involving this fool hardiness borders on the absurd and comical, darkly comical. The struggles of the boys and refugees juxtaposed against the teachers' persistence was filmed on a "as is" basis. I guess it is a story told in a documentary style. The viewer gets images of the lives of these people, struggling to go on with their lives despite the obstacles they face. Some succeed but some succumb to the hardship.

Macho Dancer

Country: Phillippines 1988

Picture Macho-Dancer
Details imdb

Seen 7 February 2006
The macho dancers are the male equivalent of the go-go bar girls. They put up a show which might be a simple dance or more explicit routines. Customers will be picking the dancer of their choice for further activities. This particular story highlights the life of a boy from a village who seeks his fortune in Manila. His only experience with men was his American friend who has gone back to the States. Manila opened many opportunities for a young man with good looks. His friendship with another macho dancer who is trying to find his sister led the two into the subteranean world of the marginalised urbanite. He also falls in love with a prostitute. As an added ingredient to this volatile mixture, we have the corrupt policeman who controls almost everything illegitimate in their area. The story line is good and the actors manage to convey the anguish of the downtrodden who do not seem to have any hope at the end of the day. The dialogue was effective during the serious parts but the love scenes were done mechanically and the macho dancers themselves seem to do their routines perfunctorily.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Daun di atas bantal

Country: Indonesia 1998
VCD Version

Picture Cannes FF
Details Cannes FF

Seen 4 March 2006
Leaves on a pillow. This Indonesian tear jerker is too true to life. Depressing. I doubt circumstances have changed a lot for the street urchins in Indonesia or anywhere else in the world. I guess the title is very apt as the children are just like leaves on a pillow, too insignificant to make an impact on our conscience. Leaves on a pillow are just brushed aside....