Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Malaysia 2003

Details imdb

Seen 21 September 2009

An elderly couple
Loving, caring, sharing

Have we ever seen such a spectacle
Especially in a conservative society
Where the old are expected
To be old

As if life will stop
When we cross that threshold
As if the fun stops
When nimbleness disappear

As if love
Has to be hidden

Seldom seen

That should not be a barrier
For loving couples
To continue loving
Whole heartedly

Growing old together
The love does not flicker
The love does not fade
Into oblivion

But should get

Mysterious skin

USA 2004

Details imdb

Seen 14 September 2009

A geek
A favourite
The same baseball game

They're just 8 year olds
With an adult figure
Looming big
In the background


Both bleed


All is answered years later
But can they come to terms
With that particular demon

The past

Possible Loves

aka Amores Possiveis

Brazil 2001

Details imdb

Seen 13 September 2009

Waiting for the rain to stop

Others have already met their intended
While you're still waiting

Ten years later
Three scenarios emerge

A conventional marriage
A broken up marriage
A continuous search for marriage
Which is the real experience

Who knows
You know

And the girl who stood you up
On that date
On that rainy night

No night is too long

UK 2002

Details imdb

Seen 12 September 2009

The eternal question

When one says
I love you
Is the feeling mutual

Does silent mean you agree
Or do you feel something

If the love has gone
How do you break off gently
If possible

Now that you find your true love
You can't wait to be together again
With your true love

Despite the odds
You persevere

But all is not what it seems to be
Only later do you realise
What you have done

Your actions
Might be justifiable to you
But it has
Brought unexpected consequences

You have to face the reality
Your love for others
May destroy their lives

So it might be best
Even though
It is ever so painful
To let them go

At least
The love will endure
In you
In your love

Friday, September 11, 2009


Thailand 2008

Details mono-film

Seen 9 September 2009

The peaceful village
Suddenly finds itself
Face to face with unexpected danger
A marauding gang of trouble makers
On their way to the capital city

The villagers decide
That come what may
They must defend themselves

Out of the blue
Help came

In the form of three modern day countrymen

This is an adventure with an added twist
A show of patriotism
Reality, fantasy
Mixed in a potent brew

Yes, the good guys triumphed

But they had to endure
Trials and tribulations
Obstacles and barriers
Heartaches and pain

A benevolent monarch
Seems omnipresent
Might be true
Wish it was true
Hope it will always be true

Monday, August 31, 2009

Law of desire

Spain 1987

Details imdb

Seen 29 August 2009

Desire, passion, longing
For one man
Could not be shared
Will not be shared

The heart says so
Even though in the beginning
It was not love at first sight

Even when your object of desire
Rebukes, denies, turns you away
Admits to his own selfish side
You dismiss it all

Matters at hand
That might prevent
The coming together
Of both souls
Is treated summarily
With dire consequences
Of course

In the end
Despite protestations
You are his heart's desire

You are the one
The true one
Close to him
Body and soul

Friday, August 28, 2009

Be Like Others

Iran 2008

Details belikeothers

Seen 26 August 2009

You have to be like others
Either or
Not in between

That is the decision taken
By many in that situation
Some eager
Some with doubts
Some did not take the plunge in the end

There are those who are happy
In their own way
And others
With regrets

One certainty
They are not the same person anymore
They had made a change
They had decided

Even though
Society accepts
Their new identities
There is a feeling
Deep inside
That if given a choice
A real choice

They would not have made the change

My Magic

Singapore 2008

Details zhaowei

Seen 24 August 2009

A natural gift
Or is it
A burden

When you are down and out
Living day to day
The drink is your best friend
And life a stupor

Until your own child
Shakes you up
To be a man again

That magic is used
For a better life
But others
Use and abuse
That gift of yours

There is always a point
When that straw
Breaks the camel's back
Then all hell breaks loose

A father
A loving father
Not in the conventional way
But you did your best
In the only way you know

And your son knows

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rich Boy Poor Boy

Philippines 1992

Details imdb

Seen 19 August 2009

Is it really love

Or just basic human need

Can differences in class and wealth
Be surmounted
It seems so
Or has the rich taken advantage of the poor
As some try to persuade
To be on their side
To start something anew
To put things right

No one can tell or be certain
Where matters of heart are concerned
Even a mother's efforts
To lead the son on a straight path
Does not lead to success

The heart

Knows no boundaries


Germany 2004

Details imdb

Seen 16 August 2009

How does a man
A powerful man and his close aides
Face their final days before defeat

Compassion lost
In its place
A cold, steely heart

Millions dead

To his mind
And those who follow
Sacrifices are justified
Hideous acts, unimaginable
Seems so routine
Nothing out of the ordinary

A mother who puts all her children
To eternal sleep
How could she

Is there any justification
For the suffering
For the atrocities

All because of an idea

The superiority
Of a particular group
Has to be stamped, marked
In any which way possible
For posterity

And 50 million people died
Along the way


aka Loss of innocence

Philippines 2008

Details imdb

Seen 16 August 2009

Was it a natural instinct
Or was it the pull of the city
Or was it just the right time
The right place
The right person

He had the same experiences
Where he came from
It might be fewer compared to
The new surroundings
But still the same

The difference might be
The variety
The amount received
The shot to fame
In that instant

Has he he forgotten
That girl who is always there for him

Is he confused
Can he come to terms
That a part of him
Wants to retain

That innocence

Friday, August 14, 2009

Death Defying Acts

UK/Australia 2007

Details imdb

Seen 13 August 2009

A sleight of hand
A coin appears

Is it real
Is it trickery
Or are we just willing victims
Who wants, needs
Belief suspended

The two meet
One toils from young
Becoming an idol in his times
The other, a psychic
Is just another mother, woman
Trying to make ends meet

The man wants assurance
A redemption for past events
The woman wants security
Something for the future

It is all a game
Until something stirs
A primordial need
To love and be loved

Even for a fleeting moment
They did savour together
Passion, emotions

That is real

Sunday, August 02, 2009

For the Bible tells me so

USA 2007

Details forthebibletellsmeso

Seen 28 July 2009

Do people manipulate scriptures
Do people take a paragraph blindly
Can't people see the whole

The sinners are condemned
But are they really sinners

The Almighty
Has created all and sundry
If you believe
In the Book
Whatever Book
Should you not believe
In the myriad variety

Who are we
To pass judgement

Who are we
To determine heaven and hell

Isn't that His prerogative

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Philippines 2008

Details imdb

Seen 21 July 2009

A movie theater
A family
The owners
The patrons

The matriarch tries her best
Regaining what is hers
Dignity, recognition, the past glorious days
She continues the fight
To keep the family
Even though some
Are not up to mark

The theater itself
Has seen better days
Now it is just
A stop over
There are those
Who watch the action on screen and
Those who participate
Off screen

There are earthly pleasures
On screen and off screen
And some do it as a service
In exchange for?
Love? Money? Companionship?

But the name of the theater
Is very apt
All of them are one family
The owners
The patrons

Monday, July 20, 2009

Far From Heaven

USA 2002

Details imdb

Seen 18 July 2009

The ideal couple
In 1950s America
Such a picture perfect family

Is that the reality
Unfortunately not

The man you love
The man who you think you know
Goes astray
And not with another woman
He does seek help
And you give support

The other man
Is the only one
Who understands

The two of you
Become fodder
For the town gossips

The difference in status and skin colour
Plays an important role
In those days
As such
A hindrance
For a friendship to blossom

The decision is difficult
Painful even
Maybe in future
It can be different

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Don't ask don't tell

USA 2002

Details imdb

Seen 16 July 2009

This is in the same league as
Attack of the killer tomatoes
Don't take it seriously
And you'll enjoy the movie

I'm sure those involved
Had so much fun
That is the beauty
Of the whole movie

To enjoy the story more
Current affairs
Americana and the world
Of the last years of
The twentieth century
As well as the beginning of
The twenty first
Should be recalled

Some dialogue
Is so spot on
You'll get guffaws
Rather than titters

Be forewarned
This is in black and white
And the actors are spliced
With old film footage
A good effect

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


UK 1976

Details imdb

Seen 14 July 2009

Once desired by many
But one false step

His faith was his undoing
Even in no man's land
His love affair
With a higher calling
Knows no bounds

Being victimised
Made fun off
Still he perseveres
There was only one friend
Who tried to see his side
But that did not help
Sebastiane's final fate

One other loves him too
Wants Sebastiane to be his lover
But Sebastiane is adamant
There is only one love
The love for that higher being

So Sebastiane suffers till the end
His gift
His belief

Antique Bakery

South Korea 2008

Details hancinema

Seen 13 July 2009

Cakes are sweet
In French, or Korean
Or in other languages
Cakes are sweet

Sugar and spice
Makes everything nice?
Not in this story

Cakes bring back memories
Or blocks some parts of it
Some people like cakes
Some people detest them


There is a mystery
Behind the bakery
There is a reason for its opening
Not just another business venture
Au contraire
Unconsciously helping
Cleansing, redeeming
A past
Best forgotten

From the film:

“Why do people want cake in their happiest moments?
Life maybe a cycle of pain and bad memories
That's probably why people look for cake when they're happy
Since life is a bitter thing, we try to make our joys ever sweeter”

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Greece 2006

Details imdb
Seen 11 July 2009

Trying to make good
To realise your dreams
Whatever obstacle
Comes along
Is hard

After the fact
Comes slowly

Even then
After so many

From the movie:

“It is not easy being human but it is even harder to behave like a human being”

Queens of Langkasuka

Thailand 2008

Details variety
Seen 10 July 2009

Good versus evil
Two sides

Whenever one has the upper hand
The good or evil
The battle continues
There is no end

Does the wronged man
Who lost his love
Take revenge
Using all he knows
To seek redress

Or will he rise above
And be benevolent
Using that power
For good
And not evil

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Down the river

aka Tam Sai Nam

Thailand 2004

Details amazon

Seen 2 July 2009

Nothing is permanent
Let go
And maybe the memories
Will linger

Does he just tolerate you
Is he just a good friend
You may think he is your lover
But that might be just
Wishful thinking

Even though he is always with you
It does not signify a thing
It is his heart which will decide
Whether the two will entwine

Will it be just memories then
Floating down the river

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Hours and Times

USA 1991

Details imdb

Seen 25 June 2009

Barcelona is the backdrop
Where we find
John Lennon and Brian Epstein

A reminder
This is fiction
A speculation
It may be true
It may not be true
It is up to you

Between the two
Strolls in the park
A Movie
An air stewardess
A hotel employee
Adds up to the build up
Did it happen?

But we are quite certain
The two are quite close
But in what manner
Only they would know the answer

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Hungary 2005

Details imdb

Seen 23 June 2009

Yellow stars
Are not pretty things
When those who wear them
Face an unimaginable fate

We follow a young boy
Hurled into that unknown world
Because he is one of those who must wear a yellow star

This a story repeatedly told
A fate befallen a group since the days of yore
A group envied, blamed, marked, hated and ultimately killed

When we see the times after the atrocities
Has anything changed?

The boy himself had a chance to start life anew
At another place, a different continent

But he did not take that step
As he preferred his homeland
But he has definitely lost
The innocence of youth

The youth with
The capacity to feel
The youth with
The spring in the feet

Whatever happened
Should not have happened
Must never be allowed to recur
And will always be condemned

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Were the world mine

USA 2008

Details imdb

Seen 20 June 2009

You can't go wrong
If Shakespeare is your basis
And for this film
It is “A Midsummer's Night Dream”

Set in verse and song
The story parallels the bard's writings

A small town
A prestigious school
Athletics versus academics
English literature against sports coach

Sexual identities
In born prejudices
Single families
Traditional values
Mix them all
A potent mix indeed

But the refrain throughout
“The course of love never did run smooth”

Rings a bell
True and through

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fremde Haut

aka Unveiled

Germany 2005

Details imdb

Seen 18 June 2009

Matters of the heart
Rule the realm again

Even when we try to run away
Love finds a way into our heart

Even though we are persecuted
Even though we have to take the bull by its horn
Guided by the survival instinct in our every move
We plod on

We try to be hard, to dismiss those feelings
But we never knew that a kindred spirit
Is waiting to share all our joys and sorrows
Despite obstacles along the way

Yes, we are defeated now
But we make a promise
A promise, a hope
That one day we'll be together again

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Last Mistress

France 2007

Details imdb

Seen 16 June 2009

The mistress
A bane to all

How does one forget a woman
Who has been a part of you
Through a decade of tumultuous ups and downs
A length of time longer than legally sanctioned unions
Even if one professes love for another
Even if one tries to forget the past

Physical separation does not help
If the other woman is also persistent
In her longing for you
Can you truthfully resist or deny
The memories that come flooding
The feelings, the yearnings

Memories that overwhelm your futile efforts
Supposedly to turn over a new leaf
To begin a new life
But to no avail

There are victims
In this chequered life
Hearts are broken and
Warm hearts turn cold

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Kite

Lebanon 2003

Details imdb

Seen 15 June 2009

A free spirit does not break
Even when she is brought down to earth

She will find a way to soar again
Despite the obstacles left right and centre

Is it love that sustains
Blind to differences
Is love so strong
That it can bring down the barriers

No definite answer here
As this is only a speck, an exception
In the vast ocean of hostility
Stoked by a millennia of hatred

A quirk, seldom seen
Doubtless, difficult to see again

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The rooftop hopper

Tunisia 1990

Details imdb

Seen 9 June 2009

The coming of age story of a boy at the cusp of manhood. Noura is everyone's favourite messenger boy in the neighbourhood and he himself loves the company of two elder boys and the local shoe smith. This is his respite from his strict father and cloyingly protective mother. Noura is at the awkward stage of his life, he is not quite a man yet since he is not always welcomed in the adults' company. He is still able to accompany his mother to the Turkish baths without any problems as his mother maintains that Noura is still a child despite the protestations of the bath owner.
This ideal life remained until the day when his much older friends wanted more information on what was happening when the women take their baths. That proved to be Noura's undoing. Added to this incident was his infatuation with the new addition to his family, an orphan girl entrusted to his parents. Noura's relationship with Latifa, the much more elderly orphan girl gives another dimension to his predicament and new found interest in the opposite sex.
It is quite astonishing to see how easy it is to film so many naked women in the baths despite this being a film from a Muslim country.
A light hearted script makes the film an enjoyable distraction with some attempts at a subtext on women's role in society and the political situation during that period.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Half moon

Iran 2006

Details imdb

Seen 5 June 2009

At first view, this might just be an ordinary story of a once famous singer who wants to go back to his homeland to perform for a concert. The whole story centres on that journey that he undertakes with his band of musicians. The added ingredient here is the fact that this singer is a Kurd who lives in Iran and is going back to Iraq. An Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein which should be a jubilation for all Kurds after the persecution endured during his regime. Unfortunately we are not seeing a rosy picture of peace and tranquility but rather the still hostile atmosphere at the border and restrictions on women in general.
The journey is definitely a labour of love for the singer and his musicians who are quite advanced in years. This might be their last chance performing together in their homeland. A concert anticipated by thousands who long for one of their most popular artists. The singer himself extracted a promise from those who helped him, that they will ensure he will be on stage either by hook or crook.
That is a promise that they will definitely try to fulfill.

Young Yakuza

Japan 2007

Details imdb

Seen 31 May 2009

This documentary focuses on a dying profession with the problems faced by the organization coping with the modern times. Even though the yakuza is synonymous with the Japanese underworld that is the equivalent of the Western world's mafia, it also has its own unique code of ethics. The film starts with a mother asking the local yakuza chief to take in her son into the industry. She is worried about the son who seems aimless in life and thought the profession would shape him up.
In between the scenes of the young man’s apprenticeship in the trade, we get interviews with the yakuza chief. His look itself from certain angles would send a chill down your spine. It is the unspoken which is more frightening. But he is a modern version of the old yakuza, more humane in a way.
The challenges facing the yakuza with ever stricter laws coming into force is the focal point here. The chief does regret that the young ones would never be able to savour the power of yesteryears when the yakuza was all powerful. He trudges nonetheless, trying to make the best of things even though he himself has lost his position through the elaborate realignment of job positions in the organization.
The yakuza in the final analysis is the same as any other corporation, with a mission statement and business plans for each financial year. Even the chief admits, they have even gone the legal route in some ways, a survival instinct.
A revelation.

GP 506

South Korea 2008

Details .imdb

Seen 31 May 2009

The scene after the film begins for a few minutes - a man standing dripping in blood, with an axe in his hand, surrounded by mutilated bodies. That should give a clue to what we'll see and expect for the rest of the film and it does not disappoint in that department. If you want blood, there is ample of that for our viewing pleasure.
As with most in the horror or thriller genre, we are kept glued to our seats, biting our fingernails and covering our eyes when the mayhem seems too much to stomach. A well written script and good acting from the main cast helped us to root for the heroes. We're always wondering what will happen next and will they survive the ordeal. The ending might be too tame for some but I guess in the context of the film, it is an acceptable solution.
Satisfying watch.

The man in the lighthouse

Philippines 2008

Details asiangayfilms

Seen 30 May 2009

The movie might have risen to a better level of enjoyment if the script and acting went a notch higher. The story of love that blossoms between Mateo and Jerome interspersed with the tale of the lighthouse fairy seems like good material. The film also touches on Mateo's relationship with his girlfriend, Mateo's anticipation of his long lost father's return home and the plight of the local “fairy”.

Mateo's decision to move in with Jerome might seem the perfect solution to cement their love for each other. But the differences in background and coming to terms with your own sexual identity became a source of discords.

It was interesting that the fairy tale was synchronised with what was happening to Mateo and in the end, Mateo had to decide for himself which route would be the best.

This film could have been so much better.


Lebanon 2008

Details news-lab

Seen 28 May 2009

Help does come unexpectedly and in many guises. Anyway, in this story, the denizens who inhabit the underbelly of a city in Lebanon, found and helped each other. The main character, Souraya, a good time girl, has the uncomfortable feeling that her life is in danger. She confides in her good friend who tries to shake off her depression and as usual their usual night time haunt becomes a temporary panacea. She does a feel a bit better but on the way home from the club, she decided to take up a dare.
She was supposed to befriend a boy who will be initiated into her and her friends' normal after partying fun. Souraya befriended Ali whom they saw lingering along the road. Ali is not your typical scavenger and street loose teenager but a homeless boy who has oodles of street smarts. Fortunately, Ali did not become a part of that fun trip but instead became Souraya's saviour in an act of kindred kindness.
A very raw take on people at the fringes of society.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


France 2008

Details imdb

Seen 27 May 2009

If you like blood and gore aplenty, watch this movie. The first scenes shows a young girl running away from something, with helpless flailing arms, begging, seeking someone that can ease her pain and misery. The girl, Lucie is placed in a home under observation of experts who try to discover what happened during her forced confinement. Anna, another girl at the home is the only one who seems sympathetic towards Lucie's condition, and is willing to try and fathom what happened in the past.

Next, we get to see the girls fifteen years later. This is the start of the real journey for both girls. A journey that Lucie has decided must be taken in order to rid herself of the traumatic past. A journey that Anna took as Lucie's one and only close and good friend but which will open up a Pandora's box.

A thriller and psychological drama, as well as a commentary of how far we will go to find that elusive answer to certain questions using whatever methods available. The righteousness of those in pursuit of that goal, setting aside any doubts or quibbles in their 'work'.

The mind boggles.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Class aka Entre les murs

France 2008

Details  imdb

Seen 14 May 2009

A French version of “To Sir With Love”?. Not quite. This does not have Sidney Poitier and Lulu but a more true to life depiction of the school room in the inner city of Paris. The main focus is the French class helmed by a dedicated teacher who takes an interest in his group of misfits. He tries to find the best in each student, despite the insolence and indiscipline he faces in the class room as well as the general atmosphere of futility among other teachers and the system.

But all his efforts do not bear fruit as desired. There are casualties along the way. The students are not in their best behaviour at school not because they are not intelligent or belligerent on purpose, but their surroundings have made them adjust and build up that barrier, a self preservation act in a way.

The subtitles in the version I saw was poor. I'm sure I've lost the subtleties of the repartee in the class but that should not stop the viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex

Germany 2008

Details  imdb

Seen 12 May 2009

A historical take at the notorious German revolutionary group. They started as idealists involved in one way or another in the student movement of the 1960s, when all sorts of radical ideas were brewing in campuses of the developed countries in the West. This was also the decade that saw the rise of people's power in a number of third world countries that had just emerged free from the colonial powers. A new Germany was also beginning to take shape, not just a nation of hard working people, building their nation after the ravages of war but with a sizable younger population born after the war who demanded a different approach to nationhood.

The leaders of this group believe the world needs a radical approach in order to change the existing imbalance prevalent in all spheres of society. But they seem to forget the innocent victims of their crusade. As always, does the end justify the means.

The film interspersed with footage of the 1960s and 1970s highlights the turmoil and dynamics within and without the group, influenced no doubt by other events and movements blooming everywhere. The director does not try to delve too deep into the trigger mechanism of the main players but does give an insight into their frame of mind throughout the existence of the group and how the authorities tried to contain them.

Required viewing for those who want to understand the whys and hows a group can be so popular despite the brutal and cold tactics that they utilise in pursuit of their goal.  

Friday, May 08, 2009

A Frozen Flower aka Ssang-hwa-jeom

South Korea 2008

Details  hancinema

Seen 7 May 2009

A flower, frozen? A metaphor for our prized possession, perhaps. In this tale, the king's hold over his flower ends tragically. The flower has not really seen the sun, or smelt the air outside the palace where he has been groomed since he was a small boy to be in the elite inner circle. A group of selected young boys groomed to protect the future king and in this case, he was the chosen flower for the king. Despite the innuendo and scathing remarks from his fellow guardsmen, he is steadfast in his loyalty to the king, to serve the king in all circumstances, to sacrifice his own life if need be.

But we are living in the era when vassal states are beholden to big brother and marriages of convenience are part of the scheme to expand the control over the far flung territories. So the flower has to make the ultimate sacrifice, sleep with queen as the king is not up to that task himself. So began, the flower's bloom. But of course not to everyone's liking.


Monday, May 04, 2009

100 Days Before The Command

Russia 1990

Details amazon

Seen 2 May 2009

Avant-garde? Surreal. I'm unsure but on the surface the film touches on the lives of a group of recruits who are preparing to go to the war front. They seem so young, child like in their innocence and eagerness to fight for the motherland. As trainings go, they endure the same hard regime to be expected of those who join the army. There may be a few sadistic leaders who are hell bent in breaking the spirit of the new men and we see casualties. But overall, there is a sense of being in solidarity, one big heart pumping in rhythm, waiting in anticipation for the big day when they will do battle.


Like A Virgin

South Korea 2006

Details  hancinema

Seen 29 April 2009

One of Madonna's biggest hits becomes a very apt title for this story. A story of longing, living not just existing. That is the ambitions and daydreams of a school boy, who feels that being a woman would at least hasten that reality. To become a woman needs money and fortunately for him the school wrestling coach sees a potential winner in that soft spoken, often bullied boy. There is a competition coming and the prize money is sufficient incentive for the boy to try his luck.

Before that big day however, there are challenges from all fronts; family, friends, a school crush and team mates.

The film has its fair share of slapstick but the actors kept a very straight face that we can't helped being amused. A first glance might say that this film is fluff but the story does touch on human foibles and strengths.


Revanche aka Revenge

Austria 2008

Details  imdb

Seen 25 April 2009

A small time burglar faces emotional torment when faced by the death of his girlfriend at the hands of the local village policeman. Does he seek revenge? The fact that he has to help his grandfather at the farm brings him close to his intended victim. But does he?

There are twist and turns as the policeman's wife is also involved in the tragedy. An eye for an eye, or would the revenge take another form, unwittingly.

The human psyche under duress.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kinta 1881

Malaysia 2008

Details  cinema

Seen 21 April 2009

Full marks for photography and art direction but I felt let down in the story department. This is a story of brotherhood, revenge, exploitation, greed and betrayal as well as a love interest or two. The main thrust and selling point of the movie are the fighting scenes as the movie boasts a lineup of a few wushu exponents, world and national champions.

For those who want to drool over the ultra fit human body on display, this is the film to watch, on par with others in the same genre. But if you are looking for some deep insight into the tin mining industry during its early years, this will not satisfy that longing. Thankfully, the production has not claimed the film is a historical insight into the past but has emphasised the loyalty among brothers angle.

A commendable effort.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Blind Sunflowers (Los girasoles ciegos)

Spain 2008

Details  cineuropa

Seen 15 April 2009

Spain in the late 1930s just before the outbreak of the Second World War sees the struggle between rival factions still continuing. Lorenzo enters the seminary with good intentions, to leave behind his worldly sins and dedicate himself to do good within the church framework. But temptation appears in the form of Elena, whose son studies under Lorenzo. And Elena is not just an ordinary housewife, her husband is a communist wanted by the authorities and her daughter had ran away with her boyfriend, another communist.

Lorenzo's inner struggles and how he justifies his actions led to devastating consequences. And this seems to reflect on how the Bible compares those who lost their way with “blind sunflowers”. Sunflowers supposedly thrive in the sun but in this case they became blinded by the brightness instead.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Forbidden Love (Defense d'aimer)

France 2003

Details  rottentomatoes

Seen 14 April 2009

What an apt title. Gestures and actions or in this case inactions that do not translate into something more meaningful haunts Bruno who has fallen for Mateo. They seem to be on a mating dance, circling each other, waiting for the first move until Bruno took the bull by its horns. But as Mateo said, the desire did not come at that time, during all those times when they were sleeping together.

But they did savour the nectar of love for one night and oh, what a night. This is one bedroom scene that has been photographed from an entirely different perspective. No oohs or aahs, no groaning moans but the background music and cinematography conveyed the deepest desires of the two lovers.

That particular night is not the beginning of a blissful journey, a life shared together. That night represents a turning point in their relationship, with tragic circumstances.

Love, obsession maybe, madness definitely.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Return to innocence

USA 2001

Details  imdb

Seen 13 April 2009

A clinical psychologist is accused of sexually abusing one of the boys at a shelter home. To compound the matter further, he is famous for his research into the relationship between adults and young boys. A very relevant subject but this is a very low budget version that it feels so much like watching a day time soap opera.

What a pity.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The moon in the gutter (La lune dans le carniveau)

France 1983

Details  imdb

Seen 12 April 2009

A metaphor of the chasm between the two lovers in the story. Well, not exactly lovers in the hunky dory tradition of fairy tales but more of a rich girl falling for that brawny animal magnetism of a he man. And all this 'love' just bubbling over the surface amidst the gritty atmosphere of the docklands. Don't forget, we also have a very jealous and possessive girlfriend, a drunkard brother who is trying to forget a past tragedy, and a father who seems to let go of his worldly affairs after the death of the daughter in tragic circumstances.

Will the moon stay forever in the gutter? Watch until the end for the answer.

Waltz with Bashir

Israel 2008

Details  waltzwithbashir

Seen 12 April 2009

This might be an animated story but what a revelation. An Israeli film maker's attempts to recollect his role during the war in Lebanon, specifically the massacre in the camps of Sabra and Shatila is the basis of the story. Step by incremental step we get a picture of those involved and the times they live in. It is not an apology for what happened but more of a cleansing ritual, trying to let go of a heavy burden that has been lodged deep inside each individual who was involved in operations leading to that fateful day.

Each man had to deal with his nightmares and dreams in his own way. A journey not alike for all of them. Each had to confront what they did on a human level against the backdrop of their historical past. Not an admirable position to be in.

A milestone, a landmark, an anti-war war film.

Time to leave (Le temps qui reste)

France 2005

Details  imdb

Seen 11 April 2009

What do you do when you find out that you do not have that much longer to live? You also have unresolved issues with your family and lover as well as your need for that loving relationship. Thus begin a journey, to try and put things right.

The film does not try to resolve all pertinent questions with a final solution that fits all. We are still left with doubts and speculations whether the main character has made the right choices but at least he has made his peace with the world he is going to leave behind.

It was wonderful to watch Jeanne Moreau, truly an added bonus.  

Beautiful Mystery

Japan 1983

Details  imdb

Seen 7 April 2009

A caricature of a group of men, pretenders of a bygone era when an army faction attempted a military coup in the 1930's Japan. This story begins with the entry of a new recruit to the cause which is led by a charismatic leader. All of them are training for the big day, when they will carry out their mission to see their country in its glory once again.

The beautiful mystery is the relationship between these men. They embody that brotherhood of man ethos, the unquestioning loyalty to your superiors that eventually blossoms into a camaraderie beyond the usual comrades-in-arms feelings.

Do watch until the end since there is an unexpected twist of sorts.

When Pigs Fly

Netherlands 1993

Details  imdb

Seen 6 April 2009

A whimsical tale of two ghosts seeking revenge over a past misdeed. Actually, one ghost in particular helped by a younger ghost from another era. But being ghosts, they need help in the form of humans, to carry out their plans. They found a perfect specimen in a young down and out man, who has lost his will to live. The young man, a miscast in the small town, is also helped by the resident barmaid cum stripper at the local drinking hole.

A must see, for all fans of Marianne Faithfull.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Crossing (Keurosing)

South Korea 2008

Details  hancinema

Seen 5 April 2009

Basically a tear jerker, but not in the copious stream of tears category. The tears do flow at certain scenes, so be forewarned.

A North Korean's struggles to help his sick wife who is expecting their second child is the main thrust of the story. Yong-soo manages to go to China and eventually to South Korea in his endeavours but the family left behind face another reality, the harsh economic conditions which has left many sick and dying. People are punished for their efforts to seek a better life amidst the ongoing mantra that they live in utopia.

This is a family torn apart by the simple facts of life, getting that plate of rice on the table everyday. That in itself is such a hard effort that being sick upsets the delicate equilibrium. That is the catalyst for the bread winner to find a better solution. Alas, the consequences.

We should thank our lucky stars.