Monday, August 28, 2006

Goddess of Mercy

Hong Kong 2003

Picture and details hkflix

Seen 27th August 2006

Sad. True to life especially the sayings on love. For example one of the characters in the film said, “I do not understand love but I understand hope”. In this case hope may have been the catalyst for the survival of the main character, a policewoman caught up in a love triangle. She already has fiancee, but finds herself entangled with another man. Unfortunately, that man is a rogue, a criminal. In the line of duty, she had to follow the rules, and the criminal’s parents die as martyrs in the eyes of their children. That incident starts a revenge trail that follows her wherever she goes.

The goddess of mercy in this instance does her work in mysterious ways. The tale does not end on a happy note, with all loose ends tidied up, but there are glimmers of hope for the future. In that sense, that is how merciful fate can be. The characters may have a bleak and dark past but hope is eternal. That keeps humanity itself forging ahead.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Czech Republic 1997

Picture and details imdb

Seen 23 August 2006

Reality. Disturbing. The film focuses on Marek, one out of hundreds of the daily runaways found in the big cities of the Czech Republic. In this case the big bad but beautiful Prague. He is the typical adolescent growing up in a small town with no hopes of improving his position in life if he stays put. He will eventually in all likelihood be another factory worker like his father.

Marek encounters his first dose of reality when he steps off the railway station in Prague. No money, no friends. This is where the reality of being a runaway in a big city strikes homes. A pimp befriends Marek and immediately sets him up with his first customer. He goes through his rites of passage in the big city - a painful passage.

From that moment on, Marek goes through all the nitty gritty of surviving as a child prostitute, he is barely sixteen. The last parts of the film show how Marek'’s father tries to find him but Marek'’s life has gone through so much change that a happy ever after scene is not in the picture.

The actor who played Marek was very good. His facial expression just pleads for mercy when he was in the throes of danger. There is a blank look in his eyes when the beatings and torture at the hands of perverts ends. He faces another day with his body contorted in pain. He is just an empty shell, a vessel to be used by those who pay for his services. An existence, not a life.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The River

Taiwan 1997

Picture and details imdb

Seen 17 August 2006

A lyrical visually stunning film. The plot revolves around Xiao-kang who became an extra in a film. He was required to simulate a corpse floating in a river. After the filming, he starts getting pains in his neck and we see how this affects his parents and he himself. The family might be living together but each of them lead very separate lives. The son's malady brings forth forces previously kept secret. The director loves to take long shots which enhances the mood of the characters. The lighting technique is also another device to lure the audience further into the story. Shadows play a big role at the beginning of some scenes before everything turns pitch black for at least a few minutes where you can only see flickers of light. Not much dialogue as the focus is more on lingering scenes which tell the story better. A normal family drama it is not.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Summer of Love

Britain 2004

Picture allposters
Details mysummeroflovemovie

Seen 16 August 2006

Two girls meet during the school summer holidays. Mona, an independent with ambitions to get a better life when she gets out of her own small town. Tamsyn, a rich kid with vivid imagination. Throw in as well into the plot, Mona's brother, a born again Christian. The two girls discover friendship, love and betrayal. Fortunately, the ending did not turn melodramatic. The actors are newcomers but manage to bring the plot to life. The director's style of an unhurried pace lets the audience get under the skin of the characters. A rite of passage for the girls in a way but will definitely leave a mark on their lives.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Japan 1999

Picture and details imdb

Seen 14th August 2006

The film is also known as "Taboo" in English. Taboo in this context is the love between men. The story centers on Kano, the object of desire among the samurais. His first lover was a fellow new recruit but others are also besotted by his androgynous beauty. The commander of the unit turns a blind eye to the goings-on but had to take a more constructive action when one of the men died in mysterious circumstances. The leader felt that Kano might be the cause of that death. He tries to turn Kano into a "real" man but failed miserably. In the end, Kano himself is given the mission to kill his first lover who is suspected of being the man behind the murder. The final scene is very surreal, taking the audience beat by heart beat to the climax. Sensitivity, beauty and pathos come together. The Ryuichi Sakamoto score is very apt enhancing the overall mood of the story.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Garcon Stupide

France 2004

Picture and details imdb

Seen 9 August 2006

Also known as "Stupid Boy" in English. Is Loic (the main character) really a stupid boy? He has sexual escapades almost every other day. The meet, bang, thanks, good bye variety. He also has a platonic relationship with a girl who understands and even tolerates his behaviour. A buddy. His outlook towards life began to change when he meets an older man who does not get physical on the first encounter. His thought processes changes and the happy equilibrium of bygone days disappears. A new Loic emerges at the end who knows with conviction what he wants out of life. The old wandering Loic is history.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The King and the Clown

South Korea 2005

Picture and details hancinema

Seen 7 August 2006

Engrossing. Enthralling. The first strains of the soundtrack itself has already pulled me into the story. The story revolves around two jesters who find their way into the palace. Unbeknownst to them, there is intrigue and plots aplenty in those magnificent surroundings. These are part and parcel of the shenanigans and devious back stabbing that seems to be a normal occurrence in the palace. The jesters find themselves a part of this palace play with no means of escape as the king has taken a fancy to one of the jesters. Unfortunately, others are scheming and using any means at their disposal to get rid of these country bumpkins. The love between the two is put to the test on numerous occasions. In the end, one of them did make the ultimate sacrifice to save the other from the king's wrath. The king himself is at the end of his reign by the end of the story. His downfall comes after so much blood has been spilt needlessly.

Jan Dara

Thailand 2001

Picture and details imdb

Seen 28 July 2006

A man brought up by a surrogate father and a benevolent aunt grows up bitter with all the negative traits of the father multiplied a few times over. His only true love died while he was away. He himself was brought up in a household where sexual encounters are just acts to satisfy a physical need. This is Jan's background and his present life is just a continuation of that past.

Paragraph 175

Germany 2000

Picture and details imdb

Seen 22 July 2006

The paragraph refers to the section of the German law that details the punishment for same sex offences. This piece of law was used extensively during the Nazi era. This documentary highlights the few survivors from that period. Some of them were homosexuals but there was a Frenchman who was not gay but was imprisoned and tortured under that paragraph. He could not forget the abuses he suffered at the hands of the Nazis. He even carried this hatred of the Nazis to encompass all Germans but managed to open up and tell his side of the story during the interview. The others also had their share of horrors. All of them survived through sheer determination and maybe even a bit of luck. A damning episode for humanity.

Three Dancing Slaves

France 2004

Picture and details imdb

Seen 2 July 2006

Three brothers with three different personalities. What's new? The eldest is in prison but finds out how much the family has change when he is released. The second brother is the hot headed coming of age teenager/adult. His escapades lead to an almost disastrous end. The youngest looks up to the elders and has his own demons to take into account. The three actors who played the brothers managed to show a depth of understanding of their characters' psyche until the audience can emphatise with their predicament in situations beyond their control.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Hong Kong 2005

Picture and details: ying e chi

Seen 1 July 2006

A teenager finds himself transplanted in Canada. At first he has misgivings about his new country until he meets an older man. This new found friend opened another world for him. He begins to acknowledge and comes to terms with his other side - the previously dormant side which prefers man. From this moment onwards, the audience sees how he matures to face reality, the way he copes with family and school, as well as the emotional upheavals that accompanies any major realisation of where you stand in the scheme of things.

I Like You...I Like You Very Much

Country: Japan 1995

Picture and details: nextag

Seen 30 June 2006

What do you do when you fall for a stranger even though you're already in a relationship. That is the premise of the film. The look is very sparse. The director concentrates on the three main characters. There is not much dialogue but more of scenes showing each phase of the relationship, the impact of the third person and how the relationship evolves and changes.