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.