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Entries in Asian cinema (145)

Monday
Nov042019

"Parasite" is the mashup of "Shoplifters" and "Burning" we never knew we wanted

by Lynn Lee

For a 132-minute Korean film that isn’t yet in wide release, Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite is already one of the most talked-about movies of the season, and for good reason.  Alas, most of the reasons can’t really be discussed without major spoilers – but that’s all the more incentive to see it as soon as it hits a theater near you.

When I saw it, I loved it, which I wasn’t necessarily expecting considering I hadn’t been a fan of either The Host or Snowpiercer, arguably the director's most popular films.  Despite its run time, Parasite is tighter than those films, and its tonal shifts and genre-melding smoother.  It's also more focused, its treatment of one of Bong’s favorite themes – class disparities – razor-sharp yet also oddly compassionate, ultimately condemning the system rather than any individual players.

Parasite, which took the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, also felt to me like the deranged evil twin of last year’s Palme d’Or winner, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep292019

NYFF: The color-filled noir of "The Wild Goose Lake"

by Jason Adams

Police officers close in on and surround a perp, their light-up dance sneakers blinking blue with every step. Hotel rooms half orange half pink, a sleepless phantasmagoria. A panicked streak through a zoo in the middle of night, flashes of light illuminating a tiger, an elephant, a succession of wild animal eyes in extreme close-up, blinking back madness. The Wild Goose Lake, the latest film from Black Coal Thin Ice director Yi'nan Diao, turns the crowded alleys and markets of Wuhan, Central China, into some sort of neon fever dream -- a riot of crime and color and scooter rides straight to hell, bang bang.

Starting off like a variation on The Warriors we first meet our characters gathered for an underground syndicate meeting -- everybody's come together to divide up the city, block by block, street by street...

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Thursday
Sep122019

"Dear Ex" adds another queer film to the International Feature Oscar Race

by Nathaniel R

UPDATED 09/17
59 films announced thus far for the Best International Feature race at the 92nd Oscars, there are yet more LGBTQ entries...

One recent gay entry is Taiwan's Dear Ex (2018). You might remember the title because it won three Golden Horse Awards last year including Best Actress for the Hsieh Ying-xuan as the widow who realizes her husband had a male lover (Roy Chiu, nominated for Best Actor). It's currently available to stream on Netflix.

The other newest arrival is Memories of My Body from Indonesia which we haven't heard much about but involves male dancers who dress as women. It's kind of a surprising selection since it's been banned in some parts of the country and is under attack by conservative groups for "LGBT propaganda". SOUNDS GREAT, WHEN CAN WE WATCH IT? 

Memories of My Body

That brings the total of LGBTQ films to eight.

  • Bolivia - I Miss You 
  • Indonesia - Memories of My Body 
  • Panama - Everybody Changes 
  • Peru - Retablo 
  • Spain - Pain & Glory 
  • Sweden - And Then We Danced 
  • Taiwan - Dear Ex 
  • Venezuela - Being Impossible

UPDATE: France did not select the lesbian romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire which would have made this list more high profile and larger.

Wednesday
Aug072019

No More Links (Enough is Enough) 

NYT a fascinating new interview with the always odd Nicolas Cage
• Cartoon Brew an indie animated short is getting a theatrical release! Hair Love will open for Angry Birds 2 in theaters. Should we watch out for it at the Oscars?
Variety sad news for those who love Asian cinema and follow the Golden Horse Awards (which we've often covered here at TFE)... a political storm is brewing and mainland China and Hong Kong are looking to boycott the event given Chinese feeling that Taiwan (where the ceremony always takes place) is not an independent nation but part of China. Naturally Taiwan feels otherwise (as do the American Oscars which invite Taiwan to submit their own films and don't lump them in with China itself)

More after the jump including new showbiz books, odd news concerning The Little Mermaid, a Barbra Streisand and Ariane Grande duet and more...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul232019

The Farewell: Where personal and universal meet

By Lynn Lee

Coming out of The Farewell, I jokingly asked my husband, “Any of those family dynamics ring a bell?”  It was a double-edged joke, as one of the most challenging differences between us is our night-and-day attitudes towards our respective families, which we attribute to our different backgrounds.  He’s white and can trace his American lineage back to the Mayflower, but feels no particular responsibility to his immediate family and rarely sees his extended family; I’m a second-generation Korean American, born to naturalized U.S. citizens who, despite having now been here far longer than they ever lived in Korea, have maintained strong ties to their birth country and culture.  As such, they regularly remind me of my obligations to my immediate family, my extended family, and even my husband's family - something that both amuses and bemuses my husband.

No surprise, then, that The Farewell was a must-see for me.  True, it’s not “my” story: I’m not Chinese, after all, and as far as I know no one in my family has ever lied to anyone else in the family about their health.  But the film’s broader underlying themes – the feeling of being caught between the values of East and West, and not fully belonging to one or the other – spoke to me at a gut level...

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