Sunday, February 28, 2010
In the last five years 62,000 Russian children have been abducted, taken out of the country and sold.THIS HARD-HITTING DRAMA is the remarkable story of one of these children."The lucky ones are adopt...( read more read more... )ed by rich families in the West. Others are sold into a life of prostitution, drugs or crime. But many are murdered so their organs can be sold on the black market, often with the collusion of the Russian police.
Andrey Sherbinin, Cecile Henry
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Project WE, Krasnaya Strela, SD Cinema Park
Yarik - Maxim Kolesnikov
Boris - Anatoly Bely
Major - Dmitry Persin
Buyer - Mikhail Gorevoi
Gurgen - Armen Djigarkhanya
Samokhin - Sergey Badichkin
Boris's Wife - Inessa Moskvicheva
Boris's Daughter - Polina Arsentieva
Mother - Elena Ksenofontova
Master - Sergey Vexler
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Mystery Train is a 1989 independent anthology film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and set in Memphis, Tennessee. The film comprises a triptych of stories involving foreign protagonists unfolding over the course of the same night. "Far From Yokohama" features a Japanese couple (played by Youki Kudoh and Masatoshi Nagase) on a blues pilgrimage, "A Ghost" focuses on an Italian widow (Nicoletta Braschi) stranded in the city overnight, and "Lost In Space" follows the misadventure of a newly single and unemployed Englishman (Joe Strummer) and his companions (Rick Aviles and Steve Buscemi). They are linked by a run-down flophouse overseen by a night clerk (played by Screamin' Jay Hawkins) and his dishevelled bellboy (Cinqué Lee), a scene featuring Elvis Presley's "Blue Moon", and a gunshot.
The starting point for the script was the ensemble cast of friends and previous collaborators Jarmusch had conceived characters for, while the tripartite formal structure of the film was inspired by his study of literary forms. Cinematographer Robby Müller and musician John Lurie were among the many contributors who had been involved in earlier Jarmusch projects and returned to work on the film. Mystery Train's US$2.8 million budget (financed by Japanese conglomerate JVC) was considerable compared to what the director had enjoyed before, and allowed him the freedom to rehearse many unscripted background scenes. It was the first of Jarmusch's feature films to depart from his trademark black-and-white photography, though the use of color was tightly controlled to conform with the director's intuitive sense of the film's aesthetic.
Mystery Train was released theatrically by Orion Classics under a restricted rating in the United States, where it grossed over $1.5 million. It enjoyed critical acclaim on the film festival circuit, and like the director's earlier films premiered at the New York Film Festival and was shown in competition at Cannes, where Jarmusch was awarded the Best Artistic Achievement Award. The film was also shown in the Edinburgh, London, Midnight Sun, Telluride, and Toronto film festivals, and was nominated in six categories at the Independent Spirit Awards. Critical reaction was overwhelmingly positive, with reviewers praising the structure, humor, and characters of the film, though there were discontented rumblings that the director had not been sufficiently adventurous.
The film consists of three stories that take place on the same night in downtown Memphis. The three stories are linked together by the Arcade Hotel, a run-down flophouse presided over by the night clerk (Screamin' Jay Hawkins) and bellboy (Cinqué Lee), where the principal characters in each story spend a part of the night. Every room in the hotel is adorned with a portrait of Elvis.
The first story, "Far From Yokohama", features Mitsuko (Youki Kudoh) and Jun (Masatoshi Nagase), a teenage couple from Yokohama making a pilgrimage to Memphis during a trip across America. Mitsuko is obsessed with Elvis to the point where she believes that there is a mystical connection between Elvis, Madonna and the Statue of Liberty. The film follows the couple as they travel from the train station, through downtown Memphis and an exhausting tour of Sun Records, to the Arcade hotel.
The second story, "A Ghost", is about an Italian widow, Luisa (Nicoletta Braschi), who is stranded in Memphis while escorting her husband's coffin back to Italy. Luisa, who has been conned twice and stuck with armfuls of magazines, is forced to share a room at the hotel with Dee Dee (Elizabeth Bracco), a young woman who has just left her husband and who plans to leave the city in the morning. Luisa is kept awake by Dee Dee's constant talking, and when the young woman finally does go to sleep, visited by an apparition of Memphis' most famous icon – Elvis Presley.
In the final story, "Lost In Space", Dee Dee's husband Johnny (Joe Strummer) is introduced. Having gotten drunk after losing his job, Johnny – known, much to his chagrin, as Elvis – drives around the city along with his friend Will Robinson (Rick Aviles) and brother-in-law Charlie (Steve Buscemi). They stop at a liquor store, which Johnny attempts to rob using the gun and severely wounds the owner in the process. Fearing the consequences of the incident, Johnny, Will and Charlie retire to the hotel to hide out for the night; there, Johnny gets further drunk. Charlie realizes that Will shares the same name as the character Will Robinson from the television show Lost in Space, which Johnny has never heard of. Charlie and Will proceed to tell him about the show, and Will comments that that is how he feels then with Charlie and Johnny; lost in space. The next morning Charlie discovers that Johnny isn't really his brother-in-law, which angers him because of what they've been through. Johnny attempts to shoot himself, and while struggling to prevent him, Charlie is shot in the leg. Leaving the hotel, the three escape a police car that isn't even looking for them. The closing credits show the train, the airport and the final views of the characters from the first two stories.(WIKI)
Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Produced by Rudd Simmons
Written by Jim Jarmusch
Starring Youki Kudoh
Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Music by John Lurie
Cinematography Robby Müller
Editing by Melody London
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Following up on the phenomenal success of his Love Letter and Swallowtail Butterfly, Shunji Iwai spins this sweet tale about a young lass' first steps in the bustle of the big city. Uzuki Nireno (Takako Matsu) is leaving her rural home in the snowy north of Hokkaido for college in Western Tokyo. Her transition to big city life isn't easy; she muffed her self-introduction in class and she had an unfortunate incident in a movie theater with an overly solicitous pervert. In spite of this, she starts to feel settled after she unpacks and after she explores her neighborhood. She also befriends tough-talking Saeko (Rumi) who invites her to join the school's fishing club. Though she initially has no interest in the pursuit, she soon is practicing her cast in a parking lot as upper classmen lavish her with attention. Uzuki, however, is not interested. When she was in high school, she fell for a hunky classmate (Seiichi Tanabe) who just so happens to be working in a local bookshop. Will she summon the courage to say "hi?" ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide
Directed by: Shunji Iwai
Cast: Takako Matsu, Seiichi Tanaba, Kahori Fujii, Rumi
Japanese '60s icon Ken Takakura stars in this beautifully photographed film about an aging railroad conductor. Sato Otomatsu (Takakura) devoted his life to making the trains run promptly in the formerly prosperous mining town of Horomai. When his colleague informs him that the unprofitable line is being closed, he reminiscences on how his workaholic ways robbed him of his personal life. Because of work, he missed the deaths of his wife and only daughter. When an enigmatic high school girl with a passion for railroads pays him a visit, his life changes in unanticipated ways. Takakura received a Best Actor award at the 1999 Montreal Film Festival for this film.
Cast: Ken Takakura || Nenji Kobayashi || Shinobu Otake || Ryoko Hirosue,Hidetaka Yoshioka || Masanobu Ando || Ken Shimura || Tomoko Naraoka || Yoshiko Tanaka
Director: Yasuo Furuhata
Producer: Sunao Sakagami
Released: 1999 [Japan]
This article is about the 1997 book. For the 2007 film, see The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (film).
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Author Jean-Dominique Bauby
Genre(s) Autobiography, Memoir
Publication date March 6, 1997
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a translation of the French memoir Le scaphandre et le papillon by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby. It describes what his life is like after suffering a massive stroke that left him with a condition called locked-in syndrome. It also details what his life was like before the stroke.
On December 8, 1995, Bauby, the editor-in-chief of Elle magazine, suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma. He awoke 20 days later, mentally aware of his surroundings but physically paralyzed with the exception of some movement in his head and eyes (one of which had to be sewn up due to an irrigation problem). The entire book was written by Bauby blinking his left eyelid, which took ten months (four hours a day). A transcriber repeatedly recited a French language frequency-ordered alphabet (E, S, A, R, I, N, T, U, L, etc.), until Bauby blinked to choose the next letter. The book took about 200,000 blinks to write and an average word took approximately two minutes. The book also chronicles everyday events for a person with locked-in syndrome. These events include playing at the beach with his family, getting a bath, and meeting visitors.
In 2007 the book was adapted into a feature film of the same name, directed by Julian Schnabel, written by Ronald Harwood and starring Mathieu Amalric as Bauby. Julian Schnabel won best director that year at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards in 2008 for directing, cinematography, editing and writing. It would go on to win numerous international awards, including a BAFTA for adapted screenplay, and Golden Globes for best foreign language film and best director.
Since the film's release, a number of Bauby's friends have gone on record saying that several aspects of Bauby's personal life were fictionalized in Schnabel's film, most notably his relationships with the mother of his children and his girlfriend.
While Bauby was still alive, French director Jean-Jacques Beineix made a 25-minute film, "Assigné à résidence" (or "House Arrest"), that captured Bauby in his paralysed state, and the process of the book's composition (WIKI)
Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Anne Consigny, Patrick Chesnais
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The Juniper Tree is a 1990 Icelandic film with a small cast of five actors, Björk, Bryndis Petra Bragadóttir, Guðrún S. Gísladóttir, Valdimar Örn Flygenring and introducing Geirlaug Sunna Þormar. It was written and directed by Nietzchka Keene and based on the fairy tale "The Juniper Tree" collected by the Brothers Grimm.
The film was shot in Iceland with an extraordinary small budget in the summer of 1986, but because of financial problems later on in the editing room it was not released until 1990, when it screened for the "Grand Jury Prize" at the Sundance Film Festival. Rhino Home Video released the film on VHS in 1995 and on DVD in 2002.
The Juniper Tree is set in Iceland and portrays the story of two sisters, Margit (Björk Guðmundsdóttir) and her elder sister Katla (Bryndis Petra Bragadóttir), who escape their home after their mother (Guðrún S. Gísladóttir) is stoned and burned for witchcraft. They go where no one knows them, and find Jóhann (Valdimar Örn Flygenring), a young widower who has a son called Jónas (Geirlaug Sunna Þormar). Katla uses magical powers to seduce Jóhann and they start living together. Margit and Jónas become friends. However, Jónas does not accept Katla as his stepmother and tries to convince his father to leave her. Katla's magic power is too strong and even though he knows he should leave her, he can't. Margit's mother appears to her in visions and Jónas' mother appears as a raven and to bring him a magical feather.
Directed by Nietzchka Keene
Produced by Nietzchka Keene
Written by Nietzchka Keene
Starring Björk Guðmundsdóttir
Bryndis Petra Bragadóttir
Valdimar Örn Flygenring
Geirlaug Sunna Þormar
Music by Larry Lipkis
Cinematography Randolph Sellars
Editing by Nietzchka Keene
Distributed by Rhino Home Video
Release date(s) USA: 10 April 1990
Iceland: 12 February 1993
Running time 78 min approx.
Still Life (Chinese: 三峡好人; pinyin: Sānxiá hǎorén; literally "Good people of the Three Gorges") is a 2006 Chinese film directed by Jia Zhangke. Shot in the old village of Fengjie, a small town on the Yangtze River which is slowly being destroyed by the building of the Three Gorges Dam, Still Life tells the story of two people in search of their spouses. Still Life is a co-production between the Shanghai Film Studio and Hong Kong-based Xstream Pictures
The film premiered at the 2006 Venice Film Festival and was a surprise winner of the Golden Lion Award for Best Film. The film premiered at a handful of other film festivals, and received a limited commercial release in the United States on January 18, 2008 in New York City.
Like The World, Jia Zhangke's previous film, Still Life was accepted by Chinese authorities and was shown uncensored in both mainland China and abroad.
Still Life takes place in the city of Fengjie, a city upstream of the massive Three Gorges Dam. Now marked for flooding, the city undergoes a process of self-deconstruction. Into this dying town comes Han Sanming, a coal-miner from the province of Shanxi who has returned in search of a wife that ran away sixteen years ago. Upon arriving, he asks a local motorcyclist to drive him to his former address on "Granite Street." The driver takes him to the river bank, revealing that his entire neighborhood has been flooded since the building of the dam. After a failed attempt to obtain his wife's information from the local municipal office, Han Sanming settles into a local hotel. Sanming's next stop is a rickety boat owned by his wife's elder brother. The brother informs Sanming that his wife and daughter (the real reason for his return) work downriver in Yichang but that if he remains in the city, they will eventually return.
Sanming then befriends a local teen (and a fan of the actor Chow Yun-Fat), Brother Mark who helps him with a job with his demolition crew. Together the two spend their days tearing down buildings.
The film then cuts to a second story with the arrival of Shen Hong, a nurse. Shen Hong's husband, Guo Bing had left their home in Shanxi two years earlier and had made only superficial attempts to keep in contact. She eventually enlists the help of one of her husband's friends, Wang Dongming, who allows her to stay at his home as the two seek Guo Bin. The two discover that Guo Bin had become a fairly successful businessman in Fengjie though Dongming refuses to answer whether he has found a girl on the side. Shen Hong later found out her husband is indeed having an affair with his wealthy investor. When Guo Bin and Shen Hong at last meet, she simply walks away. As her husband pursues her, she reveals to him that she has fallen in love with someone else and wishes to divorce. When he asks with whom and when she had fallen in love, she responds, "Does it really matter?"
The film then cuts back to Sanming for the final third. Sanming has been working at demolishing buildings for sometime when Brother Mark is fatally injured in a collapse of a wall, or perhaps he was murdered during a "job" contracted out by Guo Bin to gather a gang of youths to intimidate the inhabitants of a rival piece of real estate. Soon afterwards, his brother-in-law calls informing him that his wife, Missy Ma has returned. Sanming and Missy then meet, where she tells him that their daughter works further south, and that she works for a boat-owner essentially as an indentured servant due to her brothers debt. Sanming attempts to take his ex-wife with him, but is informed that he will have to pay 30,000 RMB to cover the debt. He promises to do so, and makes the decision to head back to Shanxi to work in the mines. His new friends and coworkers announce that they will be following, but Sanming reminds them of the intensely dangerous nature of the work. The film ends as Sanming prepares to depart. A man walking across a tight-rope appears in the background...(WIKI)
Directed by Jia Zhangke
Produced by Xu Pengle
Written by Jia Zhangke
Starring Zhao Tao
Music by Lim Giong
Cinematography Yu Lik-wai
Monday, February 1, 2010
A young dancer, her security-guard boyfriend and others work at World Park, a bizarre cross-pollination of Las Vegas and Epcot Center where visitors can interact with famous international monuments wi...( read more read more... )thout ever leaving the Bejing suburbs. Daily lavish shows are performed amongst replicas of the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, St. Mark's Square, Big Ben, the Pyramids and even the Twin Towers. But working beyond the kitsch potential, 'The World' casts a compassionate eye on the daily loves, friendships and desperate dreams of these provincial workers.
Taisheng Chen, Zhong-wei Jiang, Jue Jing, Yi-qun Wang, Tao Zhao
In Dancer in The Dark, Lars von Trier told the story of a girl who could create such a vivid interior life that it could soar over any misfortune, even death. In Breath, Director Ki-duk Kim tells the story of a girl who tries to transfer a similarly strong vision to a condemned man on death row.
What do you do to raise your spirits? Listen to a song? Walk through the countryside? Go on holiday somewhere nice? Take any of these things, and they are heightened if love and desire are added.
When I was seventeen, I used to walk five miles every night. Just to hold my sweetheart's hand and kiss her goodnight. Even in winter, I felt as if I were walking on air. Sounds kinda stupid, looking back. Especially as it didn't last. But those miles disappeared in seconds.
Breath opens unremarkably. Jang Jin is on death row and attempts suicide by sharpening a toothbrush and stabbing himself with it. (He's played by Chen Chang, the sexy outlaw suitor to Zhang Ziyi in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.) The incident makes the evening TV news.
Yeon's husband is having an affair. He tells her to get out and meet people instead of staying at home making sculptures. On an impulse, she goes to visit Jang Jin. On a subsequent visit, she decorates the visiting room with blown-up pictures of spring, fills the area with artificial flowers, and sings to him. She wears a summer dress even though it is mid-winter. Yeon's poetry of life has a profound effect on Jang Jin. They fall passionately in love. But trouble brews from Jang Jin's jealous cellmates and Yeon's violent husband.
When Breath started, I admit I found it less than engaging. But suddenly these scenes that Yeon constructs for Jang Jin explode with a powerful emotional force. Have you ever been on one of those simulator machines where you step in and it starts moving about, replicating sensations that match the screen in front of you? It's that sudden. One second you are watching an ordinary prison drama, interspersed with inconsequential domestic stuff. Then Wham! You are suddenly catapulted, knocked sideways, jolted out of your seat. And that, of course, is a pale reflection of the effect we realise it must be having on Jang Jin. We start living for these intense (yet emotionally draining) moments in the film, just as Jang Jin does.
Throughout precisely architectured cinematography, Ki-duk Kim weaves a poetry of life and death. "We are already crazy inmates on death row. Until we can breathe no more." Contrasts between the two protagonists' lives outside the meeting room and what goes on inside are mirrored in verbal contrasts where one person will speak and the other stays mute. Breathing in and breathing out. Locked in a passionate kiss. Or holding one's breath underwater.
Breath also has a bitter edge. Is she preparing him for the moment when he takes his last breath? (South Korea is one of the very few fully developed democracies where the death penalty is still allowed.) Don't expect any nice redemptive ending. Like Dancer in The Dark, Breath mostly gets darker. "Even though I call with sorrow, Only the white snow falls." It may also be too laboured – even artificial – for some audiences.
Breath is an icy, chilling love story. It looks at a bond that goes beyond the simplicities of life and death. And it's as finely chiselled as a piece of sculpture. Some scenes contain a rare combination of animal intensity and poetic tenderness. The whole unfolds as a dazzling testament to the artistry of Ki-duk Kim.
Significant Names: Chen Chang, Jung-woo Ha, Ki-duk Kim, Ji-a Park,
Director: Ki-duk Kim
Studio: Video Express
...This French drama follows two orphans — Joseph (Vincent Rottiers) and the possibly autistic Chloe (Adele Haenel) — as they set out to find the parents who abandoned them in the streets years earlier. Joseph and Chloe, who does not speak, have been on their own for years, shuffling between foster homes and institutions... usually running away and being brought back over and over again. It's not really clear what's wrong with Chloe, but she's soothed by savant-like mosiacs she creates with pieces of broken glass. As the pair carry on with their journey towards a dreamed-up home they imagine to be their own, they commit crimes, flee bullies, escape an orphanage and slowly begin to discover the truth about themselves and growing up... - moviepie.com
* Director: Christophe Ruggia
* Script: Olivier Lorelle, Christophe Ruggia
* Photo: Eric Guichard
* Music: Fowzi Guerdjou
* Cast: Adele Haenel (Chloé), Vincent Rottiers (Joseph), Rochdy Labidi (Karim), Jacques Bonnaffé (Doran), Aurélia Petit (La mère de Joseph), Galamelah Lagra (Djamel), Dominique Reymond (La directrice), Frédéric Pierrot (L’homme de la maison)
* Country: France
* Language: French
* Runtime: 105 min
* Aka: The Devils
Directed by Takashi Yamazaki
Produced by Chikahiro Ando
Written by Ryôhei Saigan (manga)
Takashi Yamazaki (screenplay)
Starring Maki Horikita
Music by Naoki Sato
Cinematography Kozo Shibazaki
Editing by Ryuji Miyajima
Distributed by Toho
Release date(s) November 5, 2005
Running time 133 min.
Followed by Always Zoku Sanchōme no Yūhi
The plot takes place in a small community in post-war Tokyo, and follows the interweaving story threads of a number of the community's residents over the course of a single year as Tokyo Tower is being built.
Norifumi Suzuki, consistently called "Suzuki Auto" by several of the other characters, runs a small auto repair shop, where he lives with his wife, Tomoe, and son, Ippei. Mutsuko Hoshino, a young girl from Aomori prefecture, comes to live with them and work as Suzuki's apprentice, having applied for the position as a one-year work opportunity. Though Mutsuko is initially shocked and upset at finding Suzuki Auto to be nothing like her expectations - a small auto repair shop where she's expected to do manual labor rather than a large company where she would be doing white-collar clerical work - she soon comes to enjoy her new life. Consistently called "Roku" (an alternate reading of the character for "Mutsu") by the Suzukis, she quickly becomes like a family member to them. Later in the film, she is given train tickets back to Aomori for the new year as a Christmas present, but she does not want to go back believing that no one in Aomori wants her to return. However, Tomoe reveals to her the letters she has been receiving from Mutsuko's mother and have kept secretly in accordance with the mother's wishes. Touched, Mutsuko chooses to return home to Aomori excited to be seeing her family again. She happily waves to the Suzukis, whom she thanks for a great year while leaving.
Ryūnosuke Chagawa is a dried-up novelist who lives across the street from the Suzukis and runs a small toy and candy shop out of his house. He writes a series of serial novels called "Shōnen Bōken-dan" (or "The Young Boys Adventure Club"). Though proud of his profession, he seems to be rather down on his luck (or talent) whenever he submits his works to be published or writing contests. Meanwhile, Hiromi Ishizaki, Chagawa's love interest, newly opens a bar nearby and is unpleasantly surprised one day when a man brings a young boy named Junnosuke to her shop. He tells her that his mother abandoned him and since Hiromi and the mother were friends—though Hiromi protests that they were hardly that close—Hiromi should take care of the boy. Hiromi reluctantly takes Junnosuke in for the time being, but is determined to find him another place to stay at. Later that same evening, Chagawa, comes to the bar to drown in his sorrows and Hiromi decides to give Junnosuke to him. Unable to resist Hiromi's charm and persuasion, Chagawa ends up taking charge of Junnosuke. In return for his allowing Junnosuke to stay with him, Hiromi would come by and visit them.
At first, Chagawa is very cold to Junnosuke since he does not really know how to be a proper parent to the boy, but he begins to warm up to him when he discovers that Junnosuke is actually a big fan of his work Shōnen Bōken-dan and the boy is equally awestruck and delighted that the author to his favorite series is right before his eyes. Over the course of the film, both become quite close and Junnosuke begins writing and even ends up having one of his own stories published in the Shōnen Bōken-dan serial.
The relationship between Hiromi and Chagawa also develops over the course of the film, as Hiromi suggests that she could move in and help raise Junnosuke. He eventually proposes to her on Christmas Eve, albeit with an empty box as he cannot yet afford a ring. Touched, she accepts his proposal, but then disappears the following day, seemingly gone from the neighborhood, and thus from Chagawa's life, forever. Her shop is put up for rent and it is revealed that she's "sold" herself off due to the inability to pay off a huge debt.
Somewhere along the way, Junnosuke gets a hold of his mother's whereabouts and tells Ippei about it. Both boys set off to find her, but their attempt ends in failure. Despite this, a wealthy businessman appears one day and claims to be Junnosuke's father. He tells Chagawa that he plans on adopting Junnosuke into his family and reclaim him as the heir to his business empire. Chagawa sends the boy off, thinking that Junnosuke would be much better off with his real father in a wealthy home than with him. After all, Chagawa is quite poor, and does not consider himself a good parent; he feels particularly lost in this matter without Hiromi. Junnosuke escapes, however, and returns to Chagawa, insisting, despite the writer's violent protests, that he would much rather stay with him.
The film is also filled with light-hearted moments which evoke a sense of romanticized nostalgia for 1950s Tokyo, a sub-genre or aesthetic which is quite popular in recent years in Japanese media. Though the Suzuki auto shop is quite small, the family earns enough money to obtain a modern electric refrigerator, and a black-and-white television, which is first switched on in front of the entire community, which has gathered in and around the house. Despite the serious and dark elements of the plot lines, and the overall difficulties of the characters' lives, episodes such as these give a feeling of the nostalgic idea of life in an easier time, a post-war Japanese "good old days".