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A Movie Is A Series of Images (film log)

themagician
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A Movie Is A Series of Images (film log)

#1

Post by themagician » April 24th, 2012, 7:45 pm



This thread shall mainly serve as an inspiration for me to start watching films from my KG bookmarks that's filled with arthouse and experimental type of films and other obscure stuff that keep on accumulating as I bookmark new stuff every day but I never feel like watching them, but also the less seen films from our highest rated lists and practically anything else from lists and non-lists. I'm hoping this will make me more excited about watching them through sharing those films with other people, by making them known and recommending them and getting new recommendations, inspiring other people to watch them, generating discussion, etc.

Don't expect lengthy (yes, lengthy) reviews like in the other film logs, especially for films everyone's seen. I usually don't have much to say about films as I tend to think more in pictures when I think of a film so I'll let the screenshots do more of the talking I guess.

Ranked lists

Japan

1950s
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s (inc. Anime)
21st century (exc. Anime)

Yoshishige Yoshida
Yoshishige Yoshida (unranked)

Akira Kurosawa ranked
Akira Kurosawa unranked

Shohei Imamura ranked
Shohei Imamura unranked

Nagisa Oshima ranked

South Korean

All

Sang-soo Hong (unranked)
Last edited by themagician on March 19th, 2013, 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#2

Post by Rich » April 24th, 2012, 8:04 pm

I am expecting a lot of obscure Asian films.

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#3

Post by themagician » April 25th, 2012, 4:09 am

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Desert Dream (Lu Zhang, 2007) - [Trailer]

Lu Zhang is certainly the unsung great of South Korean cinema who I highly recommend checking out. It's a shame he isn't more well known, he certainly deserves it. Perhaps it's due to his films being difficult to find outside SK.

In this film a man lives in the Mongolian desert with his wife and daughter in a small hut when his daughter's hearing gets so weak she has to be taken to the hospital, but the man has a job he feels he's obligated to continue and can't leave. He's a tree planter. One night two strangers appear outside his hut, a woman and a young boy escaped from North Korea. They don't understand each other due to language barrier, but the man takes them living with him. What feels like weeks go by they keep on planting trees despite setbacks. The boy forms a relationship with the man while the woman attempts to leave them behind several times, but something keeps bringing her back.

In a typical Zhang fashion there isn't much dialog, yet it's emotionally captivating and it never bores you. I probably wouldn't recommend this as a first Zhang film, his latest film Dooman River is much more accessible, which I also consider the best of the 3 films I've seen from him.

8/10.

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Kairat (Darezhan Omirbayev, 1992) - [Part 1/7]

Not much to say about this one. I watched Omirbayev's other film, Cardiogram, for the Conquer Europe challenge and was intrigued to see more.

The film follows a young man called Kairat living in Kazakhstan who's training to become a bus driver. One day he meets a woman.

There isn't much of a plot, it relies a lot on the atmosphere that certainly works. The cinematography is also quite good as you can see. I'd recommend both this and Cardiogram.

7/10.

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Chandmani Sum (Rowan Lee Hartsuiker, 2009) - [Trailer]

Experimental short documentary actually directed by a KG member.

It captures various moments in a Mongolian village Chandmani Sum. The cinematography is stunning and the fairly fast pace and cutting keeps it interesting for the 30 minutes. It's silent with a local throat singer giving it some sound that works really nicely with the film. There's a trailer on YT, go check it out.

7/10.

edit: Added trailers.
Last edited by themagician on April 26th, 2012, 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#4

Post by themagician » April 26th, 2012, 2:41 am

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Camp de Thiaroye (Ousmane Sembene, Thierno Faty Sow, 1988)

Was curious about this since it was #73 on our highest rated list.

A group of African soldiers returning home from France after helping them defend their country in the war they are put into a prison camp surrounded by barbed wire and guard posts with armed men. The film observes their treatment and the injustices they're faced with from the Americans and the French due to racism and white superiority leading to their eventual bloody uprising.

I found myself really enjoying it and it didn't feel too long. Recommended. Also looking forward to Sembene's Black Girl.

8/10.

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Umberto D. (Vittorio De Sica, 1952)

8/10.

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Khadak (Peter Brosens, Jessica Hope Woodworth, 2006)

Mysticism in Mongolia. A one child herding family living in the frozen and snowy Mongolia is evicted due to a spreading plague in the area to a small city where they must work and to learn to cope. The boy of the family has seizures and seems to be having a supernatural connection with the surrounding area including the animals and the local shamaness or is it something else? A new chapter begins for the boy in the city.

After the captivating opening scene you know it's gonna be good and there's indeed a lot to like about this. The direction, the cinematography, the scenery, the colors, the city, the attires and the people, the actors are well chosen and they're interesting to watch, but the film maybe gets a little too heavy on the symbolism in the end, but certainly worth a watch. Looking forward to watching this director duo's latest film, Altiplano.

8/10.

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The Goddess (Yonggang Wu, 1934)

Instant favorite.

9/10.
Last edited by themagician on April 26th, 2012, 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#5

Post by themagician » April 29th, 2012, 1:58 am

Coming up with anything resembling a coherent plot description seems to be very difficult and time-consuming for me so I'm skipping that shit unless IMDb is missing one.

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Black Girl (Ousmane Sembene, 1966)

I liked it until the ending. It's weak and flawed and doesn't fit in with the rest of the film.

8/10.

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Fists in the Pocket (Marco Bellocchio, 1965)

Paula Pitagora. Enough said.

8/10.

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City Girl (F.W. Murnau, 1930)

My third Murnau. I liked it better than Nosferatu and have forgotten Sunrise so can't compare, but this was good. It shall rise in our highest rated list.

8/10.

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Death of a Cyclist (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1955)

I did like it, but at times my mind started wandering. Might give it a higher rating on rewatch.

7/10.

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Diary of a Chambermaid (Luis Buñuel, 1964)

My 10th Bunuel and I'm not a big fan, but this I liked quite a bit. I was debating between 7 and 8 but settled on 8 as I liked it far more than most of his other films. It too shall rise in highest rated list.

8/10.

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La femme 100 têtes (Eric Duvivier, 1968)
KG on wrote:This is a 'free' adaptation of Max Ernst's collage book "La femme 100 têtes", originally published in 1929.
The book consisted of a surrealist picture per page, with a little legend. But the story depended on the ability of the reader to interpret the collages, and was not relying that much on the legends. The book was about a woman who was living among ghosts and ants, and was an allegory of the immaculate conception.
A brilliant experimental surrealist short film. Can't say I understood any of it, but it sure gave some food for the imagination. The imagery, the nonsensical ramblings. Also boobies.

If more people see this I expect it to make an appearance in our top 200 highest rated shorts.

8/10.

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#6

Post by George Bailey » April 29th, 2012, 1:59 am

Do you have like a script that writes your reviews for you too as well? :P

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#7

Post by St. Gloede » April 29th, 2012, 2:21 am

Damn, you're having quite the lucky streak. Glad you loved The Goddess!

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#8

Post by themagician » April 30th, 2012, 4:35 pm

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Fantastic Planet (René Laloux, 1973)

This film has been on my watchlist for a very long time. Perhaps that is why my expectations might have been too high. I loved the visuals. Psychedelic and highly imaginative. They also influenced Marilyn Manson's androgynous alien look in the late 90s. I wasn't quite as captivated by the storyline, but it's worth a watch for the visuals alone.

7/10.

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A Petal (Sun-Woo Jang, 1996)
IMDb on wrote:A young girl is caught up in the 1980 Gwangju massacre, where Korean soldiers killed hundreds, if not thousands, of protesters who opposed the country's takeover by the military the year before. [...]. The film spurred the Korean public to demand the truth behind the incident, and their government eventually opened previously classified files on the massacre.
Devastating and disturbing, a film that stays with you. I am surprised this was made in -96. Throughout the film this young actress is seen completely naked with only her vagina censored out, raped and beaten many times over. Her acting is amazing and it's good to see she's still doing it. Some are known to have offed themselves after films like this due to shame. But one must still wonder how it must've affected her.

7/10.

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Woman on Fire Looks for Water (Woo Ming Jin, 2009)

My introduction to Malaysian cinema and it's a treat. Part of a collection of 5 films called "Young Malaysia Collection". "Box set containing 5 recent films & a famously rebellious omnibus of 15 short films spread over all 5 dvd's from the Malaysian New & No Wave." Looking forward to watching all of these. Looks very interesting indeed.

Slice of life in Malaysia. Glimpses of people living near the ocean and rivers surrounded by rain forests. A film that's in no hurry. The direction is great and every shot is something to enjoy. But its strength is also its weakness. There's too many wasted shots of rocks and whatnot that don't add anything. We also don't know much more about these people, nor the place, by the end of it, which is a shame because it was all very interesting. Do yourself a favor and watch the DVD if you can.

7/10.
Last edited by themagician on April 30th, 2012, 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#9

Post by brokenface » April 30th, 2012, 4:41 pm

Love Fantastic Planet.

A Petal sounds a bit too brutal for me.

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#10

Post by themagician » May 1st, 2012, 3:54 am

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Shadows (John Cassavetes, 1959)

Woo! Woohoo! Yeehaa! My first Cassavetes. Starts out great with good mood and music that's a lot of fun, but dips slightly after that. Almost stopped it too early to learn it was improvised. Impressive!

7/10.

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Moolaadé (Ousmane Sembene, 2004)

The colors of Africa are glorious and pleasurable for the human eye. This is what it must feel like standing below a double rainbow bombarding you with a penetrating stream of photons of every perceivable wavelength. I don't think there was a single color that wasn't used in this film. And I couldn't take my eyes off the screen throughout the film as I didn't want to miss a single frame. It was all so new and fascinating to learn about the African culture.

But the film also has a powerful story. A woman takes a group of young girls under her protection to keep them from being "purified", that is to say, genitally mutilated. What a lovely word to describe that horrifying practice. It is a tradition in that culture that comes from the teachings of Islam that is the prevailing religion in the film. It is the sisu of this single woman who opposes this age-old form of child abuse that saves these children and gains the support of all the women in the village.

9/10.

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Eden and After (Alain Robbe-Grillet, 1970)

It reminded me of the films Yoshishige Yoshida directed in his mid-career. Obscurantist storylines, vagueness encompassing, seemingly nonsensical and rambling, bombastic, yet even for those of us to whom the storyline goes over our heads there is still something that we can get out of it. The cinematography and the sensual qualities that can do wonders. The moment the two women's lips touched is traceable to the point in time that I saw the angels spread their wings and I became a believer for surely nothing else in this world can match the innocent beauty displayed in that instance. And I must applaud the older man for being able to hold off on erecting the most glorious phallus known to mankind for this is a feat no mere mortal could have managed.

Yet I am heartless and do admit was not impressed by the artiness, but yes, beating Godard in this game and I bow, even do tip my hat. The only two people in this world who are allowed to break the fourth wall are Chaplin and Keaton, if this is not your name I simply must look away. It takes me immediately out of the film and feels nothing but awkward. Many a Godard I would rate higher if not for these forced distrations. One could argue this is its exact purpose, but not being interested in the critical aspect of cinema, merely watching films for entertainment I just don't care, and here I have become the greatest enemy of Yoshishige Yoshida, a director who has shown his disgust and despise for eiga otaku, us who watch films as a hobby, as something merely pleasurable.

7/10.

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#11

Post by George Bailey » May 12th, 2012, 1:24 am

I'm now downloading Ggotip (A Petal), thank you magician!

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#12

Post by themagician » May 20th, 2012, 10:34 am

So the World Hockey Championship tournament is coming to a close and Finland got buttraped in the semis by Russia so I can start focusing on films again. Hopefully I won't get too drawn into the upcoming European Football Championship tournament and the Summer Olympics. I'm not even that into sports, yet I always end up watching them >_>

A few films I watched in the past 2 weeks or so...

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Farewell to the Summer Light (Yoshishige Yoshida, 1968)

The IMDb review pretty much says what I wanted to say so check that out.

It's interesting to say the least, but difficult to have any kind of connection with, you just kind of observe it from a distance.

7/10

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The Road to Sampo (Man-hui Lee, 1975)

Better than I expected. Two fellas meet, stop by a nearby place to eat, they get a task from the owner to find the girl in the picture and return her. When they find her they make a decision that leads the three of them on a journey to Sampo through the snowy South Korea. A clash of personalities, it's a fun little adventure through the atmospheric scenery.

7/10

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Coup D'Etat (Yoshishige Yoshida, 1973)

16th film I've seen from Yoshida out of the 19 he's made. The remaining are the last three which I'm not interested in.

What can I say, once again I'm clueless as to what a Yoshida film is about. A dude is killed in the beginning, a professor who's concerned that everyone's read "the transformation of Japan" (I have no idea) proclaims now a martial law will be enacted, nobody will notice, it is time for a revolution to be realized. And shit. That's probably wrong. You should read the review on IMDb and forget this.

The storylines, at least the ones he made after departing from Shochiku studios, always go over my head in Yoshida films due to their obscurantist nature, but I do love the cinematography in them. And my penis wishes to add that the women are stunningly beautiful as well.

7/10

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Mouchette (Robert Bresson, 1967)

8/10

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Claire's Knee (Eric Rohmer, 1970)

First Rohmer. Amazing cinematography! Looking forward to watching more from him. I already have the six moral tales on my watchlist.

8/10


You know, there's too much crap on my watchlist, it depresses me. There's about 1,000 films from Japan alone. Not to mention the 248 lists I've bookmarked on iCM. And all the filmographies I want to complete. And all the other shit I want to see. I might have to start focusing on something like iCM Board's Top 1000 Highest Rated Feature Films / TSPTD / Doubling the Canon / Harvard that have a pretty good mix of everything that also give a sense of progress, right? Otherwise I'm going insane trying to watch all this stuff.

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#13

Post by mightysparks » May 20th, 2012, 10:39 am

themagician on May 20 2012, 04:34:50 AM wrote:You know, there's too much crap on my watchlist, it depresses me. There's about 1,000 films from Japan alone. Not to mention the 248 lists I've bookmarked on iCM. And all the filmographies I want to complete. And all the other shit I want to see. I might have to start focusing on something like iCM Board's Top 1000 Highest Rated Feature Films / TSPTD / Doubling the Canon / Harvard that have a pretty good mix of everything that also give a sense of progress, right? Otherwise I'm going insane trying to watch all this stuff.
I know the feeling :( It's been driving me crazy the last week or so actually, so much so that I've hardly been able to watch anything :(
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

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#14

Post by bal3x » May 20th, 2012, 1:19 pm

themagician on May 20 2012, 04:34:50 AM wrote:So the World Hockey Championship tournament is coming to a close and Finland got buttraped in the semis by Russia so I can start focusing on films again. Hopefully I won't get too drawn into the upcoming European Football Championship tournament and the Summer Olympics. I'm not even that into sports, yet I always end up watching them >_>
Didn't realize you'r from Finland! Ice-hockey is big here and we already lost to Russia in the group stage, but with a more decent result, hehe. The Russians are impressive this year, Malkin is hell of a player, apparently the best in the world today... Slovaks pulled a major upset by getting to the final, but Russians might be too hard a nut to crack. Good luck with the Czechs for bronze!

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#15

Post by themagician » May 27th, 2012, 5:50 pm

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The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1947)

This was apparently cut from 155 minutes to 87 minutes, which shows. A lot of stuff happens in a short amount of time.

I need to watch more noir, I actually really like the genre even though I haven't seen a lot.

8/10

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Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (F.W. Murnau, 1931)

7/10

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Whirlpool of Fate (Jean Renoir, 1925)

If one thing stuck to my mind it's the brilliantly surreal dream sequence, other than that there isn't much I can recall, maybe the fact that I had to keep running to the bathroom had something to do with it. Surprised this isn't on any official lists, well at least it's on our highest rated, for now anyway...

7/10

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Sound of the Mountain (Mikio Naruse, 1954)

I need to see more Naruse. And I know that's a low rating, I might change it to 8. Maybe after Hara's bad acting disappears from my mind. And that creepy smile she always does. She's a so called Daikon actor, one who always plays themselves, it also has a negative connotation. It's also the reason why she quit acting, she hated everything she had done.

7/10

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Ballad of a Soldier (Grigoriy Chukhray, 1959)

I'm not a huge fan of the War genre, even though I almost never dislike a War film. Whenever you come across a film like this that isn't just shoot shoot kill kill, cry scream blood and guts, it's a pleasant surprise.

8/10

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On the Occasion of Remembering the Turning Gate (Sang-soo Hong, 2002)

Probably my favorite Sang-soo Hong film so far, though only my 3rd, however I have his whole filmography waiting to be watched. It's not different from the other films, you have Korean people living in South Korea, eating, talking, socializing, having sex and just living, but it's interesting and not boring at all.

7/10

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Suzaki paradise: Akashingo (Yuzo Kawashima, 1956)

8/10

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Rififi (Jules Dassin, 1955)

Shame about the second half, had it been slightly shorter or at least have some music I might've rated this higher, but I found myself a bit bored. They also should've shown the WHOLE break-in with zero cuts, that's what made Le Trou so great.

8/10

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Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974)

Halfway through you start asking WTF you're even watching when it turns into a mindfuck, but it makes a bit more sense at the end. First half is absolutely amazing, then it gets a little exhausting.

BTW, what other (good) films are there where you have quirky girls just fooling around? Like this and Daisies.

8/10

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The Golden Fern (Jirí Weiss, 1963)

This film is amazing, though far from perfect, but if you haven't seen it, you should feel bad and you should watch it. It's FL on KG.

It's a fantastical tale of a young man who 'steals' a golden fern from a forest, seduces a beautiful and mysterious woman who comes from the forest to ask him return said fern, goes off to war and completes seemingly impossible tasks for the most despicable woman you've ever seen in the hope that he gets to go back home.

The first 30 minutes or so are really amazing. The ending though leaves you with all the questions you had when it started, or answers that are quite ambiguous and not satisfying enough. There's a scene towards the beginning that's really bizarre that for me evoked the special effects of Evil Dead, who knows they might've even been an influence for Sam Raimi.

7/10

Now I might do an unofficial Czechoslovakian challenge next month, so much good stuff I bookmarked yesterday from those countries.

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#16

Post by themagician » May 28th, 2012, 12:49 pm

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Himiko (Masahiro Shinoda, 1974)

Art Theatre Guild goodness. This film is so hard to describe. Religion, cult, god, incest, theatrical, very visual, mind-blowing, batshit insane. It's evocative of Shuji Terayama's films.

And how could I forget, our heroine is played by my one of my favorite actresses, Shima Iwashita.

I've picked a few more screens here:
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Highly recommend it.

7/10.

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Raise the Red Lantern (Yimou Zhang, 1991)

I need more color in my watchlist. And I really need to see more Chinese films!

8/10.
Last edited by themagician on May 28th, 2012, 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#17

Post by Limedebois » May 28th, 2012, 2:30 pm

themagician on May 27 2012, 11:50:13 AM wrote:Image

Sound of the Mountain (Mikio Naruse, 1954)

I need to see more Naruse. And I know that's a low rating, I might change it to 8. Maybe after Hara's bad acting disappears from my mind. And that creepy smile she always does. She's a so called Daikon actor, one who always plays themselves, it also has a negative connotation. It's also the reason why she quit acting, she hated everything she had done.
Interesting thing about Setsuko Hara. I had never noticed she stoped acting in 1966.

And this creepy smile, this is actually what I love in her, and a big part of her success in those films, I guess. Weird. So charming shyness.

About this Naruse's I remember watching 30m and being very bored. Then I rewatched it after some other Naruse and I appreciated it... Again, weird^^. The film is more evasive than other Naruse's but the characters are basically always the same (friendless woman, fickle husband...) but the situations are less obvious.
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Suzaki paradise: Akashingo (Yuzo Kawashima, 1956)

8/10
Great review^^.

Since I love this one, can we have a little more commentaries?

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The Golden Fern (Jirí Weiss, 1963)

This film is amazing, though far from perfect, but if you haven't seen it, you should feel bad and you should watch it.
Thanks. The first 30m are in fact interesting in comparison with the rest. But the cinematography can't make by itself a good film. The chiaroscuro and the close-ups are great but the editing is not impressive, the lines, uninteresting, and the global plat is undistinguished.

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#18

Post by themagician » May 30th, 2012, 3:31 pm

@Limedebois: I have nothing to say about Suzaki Paradise, so no. I didn't start this thread to write reviews, it's just a film log with the occasional thought if something comes to mind. Don't expect reviews for every film, like I said in first post...

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Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (D.W. Griffith, 1916)

I watched this yesterday and initially rated it 9/10, but now thinking about it, it was so damn good I had to give it 10/10!

The scope if it, of biblical proportions, the props, the details, the ambitiousness, the powerful, energetic live score, it all molds together into one epic picture that you can't take your eyes or ears away from.

And about time I watched it. It's also my first film from 1910s and my first proper Griffith after an 8 minute short film from Harvard's list.

10/10

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Journey to Italy (Roberto Rossellini, 1954)

Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders play a couple on a short vacation in Italy to dispose of some property they inherited. Their relationship, having lasted for 8 years, unstable and dysfunctional, on the verge of coming apart, they despise each other. She spends her time learning about the history and geography of Italy, while those things bore him spending his time in another city.

It's all very uninteresting, the actors seem uninterested, the cinematography uninteresting, the beginning, the middle, the end, none of it excited me. I do not understand what makes it worthy of TSPTD top 100 and Harvard's recommended? It's not bad, it's watchable if you can get into it, but not very good.

This is the first film I've forced myself to watch during thischallenge film log as I'm trying to complete TSPDT top 100 (only 12 to go). Getting motivation through completing small challenges.

7/10 (just barely...)

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Ryoma ansatsu (Kazuo Kuroki, 1974)

Art Theatre Guild and Kazuo Kuroki. Names that should excite every fan of Japanese film.

Ryoma Sakamoto, a samurai on the run and in hiding in 1867, wanted for the murder of two Shogunate Officials two years earlier. Ryoma, short-sighted, greasy haired with sideburns and hairy legs, with him carrying a katana and a healthy looking handgun. This is the story of his last 3 days.

Kazuo Kuroki, one of Japan's least recognized directors. Though only my 3rd Kuroki film, he's already one of my favorite Japanese directors. Silence Has No Wings, a beautifully cinematographed allegorical story featuring the cute Mariko Kaga, The Cuban Lover, a neorealist film shot in the streets of Cuba, one of the most curious films from Japan.

The cinematography in Ryoma Ansatsu is very interesting, shot either in 8mm or 16mm (I assume) and partially hand held that gives it a very grainy and experimental look.

A must-see film for Japanese film fans and the Samurai genre as well. It suffers from its 2 hour run time, but is very good indeed.

And please see the awesome screenshots below!

7/10
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Last edited by themagician on May 30th, 2012, 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#19

Post by bal3x » May 30th, 2012, 3:52 pm

I agree on your take on Journey to Italy, probably the weakest Rossellini I've seen so far, I did rate it 7/10, but on second thought I think it's closer to 6/10.
Last edited by bal3x on May 30th, 2012, 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#20

Post by brokenface » May 30th, 2012, 3:58 pm

Journey to Italy is one of the most inexplicably acclaimed films to me. Usually I can at least see why something is so notable even if I don't like it (e.g. I don't like Intolerance in the least, but I can see why it is an important film), but I really don't see anything in Journey to Italy..

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#21

Post by bal3x » May 30th, 2012, 4:06 pm

brokenface on May 30 2012, 09:58:38 AM wrote:Journey to Italy is one of the most inexplicably acclaimed films to me. Usually I can at least see why something is so notable even if I don't like it (e.g. I don't like Intolerance in the least, but I can see why it is an important film), but I really don't see anything in Journey to Italy..
Indeed. I do love Rossellini, but this film seems so bland and uninteresting, really does not involve you at all, you don't seem to care much what's happening to those characters.

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#22

Post by themagician » June 1st, 2012, 3:07 am

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Killers on Parade (Masahiro Shinoda, 1961)

This film is PACKED with talent and familiar faces for Japanese film fans. IMDb only lists 3 actors, but trust me, everyone's in this film, including the little boy from Oshima's Boy, it's ridiculous. Unfortunately the film isn't as good as the cast and crew would lead you to expect.

I'll just copy paste this description of the film here:
Taking his cue from Jean-Luc Godard’s use of style and filmic form, Shinoda’s Killers on Parade (aka My Face Red In the Sunset) exposes Japan’s ever-growing, post-war fascination with Western culture. A pop-art-comic-book style action satire shockful with hitmen and -women singing Revue songs, a killer who expresses himself solely in tankas or haikus and a female assassinator who walks around with her sheep, Killers On Parade was heralded as one of the great works to emerge out of the Japanese new wave. The screenplay written by Shuji Terayama, who’s unique avantgarde pop-art sensibility dominates every aspect of the film, tells the story of a a construction tycoon who wishes to dispose of a journalist who has learnt too much of his unscrupulous business deals. He hires a band of eclectic assassins to finish her off and a bizzare chase is set in motion…
After an intro like that who isn't intrigued? The influence from JLG is definitely there, from the way they dress to random arty events in the film, spedup segments with sound effects and even similarly shot scenes, such as one where the characters are all against a wall facing the camera, that's so Godard, evoking his film Week End. In fact, the whole film is evocative of that film. And the girl in the screenshot is totally reminiscent of Anna Karina, especially when she's not wearing a hat. Anywho, it's entertaining enough for a single watch and also to see how JLG influenced Japanese film, but there isn't much there for another watch. For me anyway.

6/10

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The Lady with the Dog (Iosif Kheifits, 1960)

Instant favorite. It is a simple love story, but the meat of it is tangible and captivating. And the cinematography is breathtaking.

8/10

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Evil Spirits of Japan (Kazuo Kuroki, 1970)
Based on the novel by Kazumi Takahashi. - Murase is a bodyguard of yakuza group. Ochiai is a police officer who once was a student activist. When they meet, they are surprised how identical they look. So they swtiched their positions. Murase investigates the case he was involved. Ochiai feels rather comfortable in the world of yakuza. They begin to feel sympathy for each other...
Another Kazuo Kuroki and another ATG film. And it doesn't disappoint. You have this story going on as described above that's actually bit of a mindfuck as the parts are played by the same actor who interact in same scenes. Then it keeps cutting to some longhaired hippie playing guitar and singing and to scenes with attractive well-endowed naked women. I approve.

7/10

By the way if anyone needs help finding any of these obscure Japanese films just PM me.

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#23

Post by themagician » June 7th, 2012, 5:56 pm

I'll try to write something later.

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Ivan's Childhood (Andrey Tarkovskiy, 1962)

8/10

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Tale of Cinema (Sang-soo Hong, 2005)

6/10

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Closely Watched Trains (Jirí Menzel, 1966)

8/10

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Seduction (Gustav Machatý, 1929)

7/10

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The Shop on Main Street (Ján KadárElmar Klos, 1965)

7/10

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Nanami: The Inferno of First Love (Susumu Hani, 1968)

6/10

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#24

Post by themagician » October 31st, 2012, 4:17 pm

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19/19 Feature films
- (30.10.2012)

I just finished Yoshishige Yoshida's feature filmography yesterday.

I'd probably rank his films like this: http://themagician.host56.com/yoshidaranked/
Also in chronological order: http://themagician.host56.com/yoshida/

Of course it's a highly personal ranking. I'm sure many would say for instance that Eros + Massacre should be #1 and I wouldn't disagree with that. And the fact that it's been a while since I saw some of those so I've lost a lot of detail so it's pretty much based on recollection.

Next step for me is to rewatch them and try to understand them this time :P

I'm currently reading David Desser's Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave Cinema. Hopefully that'll shed some light on some of his esoteric films. Then the rewatch!

By the way I took 13 of those shots by myself, I think they turned out pretty great, which is a testament to how amazing cinematography his films have.

If you haven't seen any of his film do yourself a favor and watch a few!

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#25

Post by mightysparks » October 31st, 2012, 4:20 pm

The only one I've seen is Woman of the Lake and I gave that a 3 so... :whistling:
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

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#26

Post by themagician » November 8th, 2012, 4:49 am

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Sang-soo Hong's Full Filmography finished: 13 Feature films and 1 Short.

Here's his filmography with screenshots: http://themagician.host56.com/sangsoohong/index.html

I couldn't possibly make a ranked list. They're all equally great films. A bit circlejerkish as almost all of his films have something to do with filmmakers as characters, but ignoring that they're just great films about relationships and Korean (food) culture.

If you haven't seen any of them you can start with almost any one of them. The Power of Kangwon Province (1998) is a good one and from there you can watch them in chronological order if you like.

The first one is probably my personal favorite, but that one isn't the most accessible/representative due to its low budget look and feel that's quite different from all his other films.

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#27

Post by St. Gloede » November 12th, 2012, 5:09 am

Hadn't heard about In Another Country. Love Huppert, so I'll check it out. Also getting Humiko and Evil Spirits of Japan because I spotted them here. Should definitely start working on Yoshishige Yoshida as well, only seen Woman of the Lake.

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#28

Post by St. Gloede » November 12th, 2012, 1:58 pm

Evil Spirits of Japan was pretty cool. 7/10. Thanks for the rec.

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#29

Post by themagician » November 13th, 2012, 3:03 am

Art Theatre Guild produced some of the best Japanese films ever made and arguably the most interesting ones. ATG was also an important player in the Japanese New Wave movement which is where my favorite Japanese films come from. So I'd recommend checking out some of those films if you like these different kind of Japanese films. Here's a list of all ATG films on ADC with links to torrents. And here's an iCM list of Japanese New Wave films. It's not even near complete though and is missing one of the biggest names: Shuji Terayama.

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#30

Post by themagician » November 13th, 2012, 5:51 pm

For no reason, here's all the South Korean films I've seen with screenshots: http://themagician.host56.com/southkorea/index.html

They're kinda sorta ranked, but not really. I've tried to rank them at least a little. If someone new to SK cinema asked me which 10 films they should see, that top 10 would probably be pretty close (Park trilogy counts as 1). Then the next 10, etc. So not a true ranking and don't take it as such!

I guess I'm putting these here if anyone's looking for recommendations and new films to watch. There's some pretty interesting films there. And FWIW, all of them are worth watching. I can recommend all of them. If something at the bottom looks interesting, watch it, it's not there because it's shit.

Also the last film is missing an IMDb link because it's not on IMDb. It's some indie film, pretty rough, and it shows, as are the two films above it too by the way, but not bad.

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#31

Post by Pain » November 13th, 2012, 5:55 pm

themagician on Nov 13 2012, 10:51:39 AM wrote:For no reason, here's all the South Korean films I've seen with screenshots: http://themagician.host56.com/southkorea/index.html

They're kinda sorta ranked, but not really. I've tried to rank them at least a little. If someone new to SK cinema asked me which 10 films they should see, that top 10 would probably be pretty close (Park trilogy counts as 1). Then the next 10, etc. So not a true ranking and don't take it as such!

I guess I'm putting these here if anyone's looking for recommendations and new films to watch. There's some pretty interesting films there. And FWIW, all of them are worth watching. I can recommend all of them. If something at the bottom looks interesting, watch it, it's not there because it's shit.

Also the last film is missing an IMDb link because it's not on IMDb. It's some indie film, pretty rough, and it shows, as are the two films above it too by the way, but not bad.
Thanks for the list, I'm still a newborn when it comes to Korean cinema, I watched only three. I'll be using it for sure. I wish you would import it to iCM or IMDb, as I would have easier access and tracking there.

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#32

Post by insomnia » November 13th, 2012, 6:04 pm

Cool list. Have you seen Poetry? If not I'd highly recommend it. It's an example of a melodrama done right, unlike A Moment To Remember, which I really don't get the love for. So superficial and overtly manipulative that it's almost offensive.

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#33

Post by St. Gloede » November 13th, 2012, 6:11 pm

themagician on Nov 13 2012, 10:51:39 AM wrote:For no reason, here's all the South Korean films I've seen with screenshots: http://themagician.host56.com/southkorea/index.html
Whatever site you're using to rank those films interest me. What is it?

P.S. You gotta have an account Asian DVD Club to see that list. Maybe I'll sign up, but as they only have DVDRs I'm probably never going to use it. Too big files. Seems like a really cool site though.

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#34

Post by Kowry » November 13th, 2012, 7:04 pm

Crinderman on Nov 13 2012, 11:11:36 AM wrote:
themagician on Nov 13 2012, 10:51:39 AM wrote:For no reason, here's all the South Korean films I've seen with screenshots: http://themagician.host56.com/southkorea/index.html
Whatever site you're using to rank those films interest me. What is it?

P.S. You gotta have an account Asian DVD Club to see that list. Maybe I'll sign up, but as they only have DVDRs I'm probably never going to use it. Too big files. Seems like a really cool site though.
Buy more HD space :P

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#35

Post by themagician » November 13th, 2012, 8:28 pm

insomnia on Nov 13 2012, 11:04:01 AM wrote:Cool list. Have you seen Poetry? If not I'd highly recommend it. It's an example of a melodrama done right, unlike A Moment To Remember, which I really don't get the love for. So superficial and overtly manipulative that it's almost offensive.
If it's not on the list I haven't seen it. I need to see a lot more Korean films, especially pre-21st century. I have a huge bookmarks list on ADC I need to start working on. Might start an ongoing South Korean challenge for this.
Crinderman on Nov 13 2012, 11:11:36 AM wrote:
themagician on Nov 13 2012, 10:51:39 AM wrote:For no reason, here's all the South Korean films I've seen with screenshots: http://themagician.host56.com/southkorea/index.html
Whatever site you're using to rank those films interest me. What is it?

P.S. You gotta have an account Asian DVD Club to see that list. Maybe I'll sign up, but as they only have DVDRs I'm probably never going to use it. Too big files. Seems like a really cool site though.
The ranking site that I use is my own! It lets me easily create collections from IMDb lists, update and delete entries, and add non-IMDb entries. Adding screenshots can be done by simply drag 'n dropping an image from the internet / folder. Sorting is as easy as this (just imagine the boxes look like the entries with screenshots). I can set a custom screenshot size and sort it by title, year, etc. when I export the list.

But... It's still not done and I'm still working on improving it, making it better, adding features. I'll release it at some point.

And yes, you can find all of these on ADC with English subtitles. I did a comparison of the amount of content between KG and ADC a short while ago, but here's the current numbers for South Korean films: ADC: 2460, KG: 842.
Kowry on Nov 13 2012, 12:04:03 PM wrote:
Crinderman on Nov 13 2012, 11:11:36 AM wrote:
themagician on Nov 13 2012, 10:51:39 AM wrote:For no reason, here's all the South Korean films I've seen with screenshots: http://themagician.host56.com/southkorea/index.html
Whatever site you're using to rank those films interest me. What is it?

P.S. You gotta have an account Asian DVD Club to see that list. Maybe I'll sign up, but as they only have DVDRs I'm probably never going to use it. Too big files. Seems like a really cool site though.
Buy more HD space :P
I'm not sure what HDDs cost now, but just before the floods happened that made the prices go up I bought 3x2TB for ~200EUR. Still got some space left, but slowly running out...
Last edited by themagician on November 13th, 2012, 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#36

Post by St. Gloede » November 14th, 2012, 3:22 am

themagician on Nov 13 2012, 01:28:13 PM wrote:The ranking site that I use is my own! It lets me easily create collections from IMDb lists, update and delete entries, and add non-IMDb entries. Adding screenshots can be done by simply drag 'n dropping an image from the internet / folder. Sorting is as easy as this (just imagine the boxes look like the entries with screenshots). I can set a custom screenshot size and sort it by title, year, etc. when I export the list.

But... It's still not done and I'm still working on improving it, making it better, adding features. I'll release it at some point.
That would be great. You'd easily beat Letterboxd. I'd use it for sure!

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#37

Post by themagician » November 14th, 2012, 5:15 am

Crinderman on Nov 13 2012, 08:22:50 PM wrote:
themagician on Nov 13 2012, 01:28:13 PM wrote:The ranking site that I use is my own! It lets me easily create collections from IMDb lists, update and delete entries, and add non-IMDb entries. Adding screenshots can be done by simply drag 'n dropping an image from the internet / folder. Sorting is as easy as this (just imagine the boxes look like the entries with screenshots). I can set a custom screenshot size and sort it by title, year, etc. when I export the list.

But... It's still not done and I'm still working on improving it, making it better, adding features. I'll release it at some point.
That would be great. You'd easily beat Letterboxd. I'd use it for sure!
It's not that kind of site though... You run the script on your own computer and you can manage the collections via your browser. To make a site like letterboxd takes $$$. This one I just made for myself since I like having screenshots for every film I watch with the ability to create collections and ranking them.

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#38

Post by St. Gloede » November 16th, 2012, 2:16 pm

themagician on Nov 13 2012, 10:15:50 PM wrote:
Crinderman on Nov 13 2012, 08:22:50 PM wrote:
themagician on Nov 13 2012, 01:28:13 PM wrote:The ranking site that I use is my own! It lets me easily create collections from IMDb lists, update and delete entries, and add non-IMDb entries. Adding screenshots can be done by simply drag 'n dropping an image from the internet / folder. Sorting is as easy as this (just imagine the boxes look like the entries with screenshots). I can set a custom screenshot size and sort it by title, year, etc. when I export the list.

But... It's still not done and I'm still working on improving it, making it better, adding features. I'll release it at some point.
That would be great. You'd easily beat Letterboxd. I'd use it for sure!
It's not that kind of site though... You run the script on your own computer and you can manage the collections via your browser. To make a site like letterboxd takes $$$. This one I just made for myself since I like having screenshots for every film I watch with the ability to create collections and ranking them.
I'll say this. With your brilliance you should have been a millionaire by now. You create scripts and programs for everything. Make something you can sell to the big companies and become the next Bill Gates.

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#39

Post by themagician » November 20th, 2012, 10:47 am

I just watched a Korean film called Cafe Noir. It rocketed to possibly my second favorite Korean film after Lu Zhang's masterful Dooman River. It may become my favorite, we'll see.

Cafe Noir was written-directed by the critic-to-director Sung-il Jung as his debut and hitherto his only film that clocks at impressive 3hr 17min long. What's fascinating about it is that despite its subject matter, essentially a romance, interwoven with criticisms of contemporary South Korean culture, this artistically driven, highly creative and cinematically complex film is completely unpredictable where every scene, shot and line of dialogue invites you to think about its meaning. It's extremely engaging and it keeps you curious about what the next scene brings. I could see this film being used in film classes for analysis purposes, that's exactly how it's constructed, scene by scene. It may even demand the viewer to do the same to fully understand and appreciate it. The general feel and style is somewhat reminiscent of Sang-soo Hong's films (particularly the second part of the film, it helps that the film features an actress who's familiar to us from his films, it almost feels like we're watching Oki's movie), except more arty, it's not just about the characters and the story, a lot is told outside those aspects. It also reminded me of Yoshishige Yoshida's films where his characters don't show emotion and they speak monotonically. The film does have its emotional side too, but don't expect a weeping romance... Let's see how the film begins:

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The opening shot. An unnamed woman staring above, uttering the words, "Our Father in Heaven, guide and protect us."

For the next four minutes we look at her devouring the burger while she stares at the camera, without a blink, without a display of emotion, with her munching acting as the soundtrack. A nod to Andy Warhol's Eating a Hamburger. How daring to try something like that today!

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My mind was racing with thoughts already and the film had barely even started. What a fascinating start! The imagery and the symbolism is amazing. For instance the halo above her head, not there for no reason, Christianity is constantly referenced throughout the film, after all it is, somewhat peculiarly, the majority religion in South Korea. And what is it trying to hint by breaking the 4th wall, creating this relationship with the viewer? It allows many interpretations.

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Fingers sucked clean, she raises her head with the most innocent look, like a puppy staring at its owner after it has done something it shouldn't have. For some reason this scene arouses laughter in me.

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It is followed by shots of whatever South Korean city the film takes place in (I can't remember if it was mentioned or not, probably Seoul) accompanied by piano to setup the space and time of the film. I really liked this segment because sometimes films don't show you the surrounding space at all and it keeps jumping from place to place and I tend to lose interest because I have no idea where we are. For instance I found the Japanese film Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937) really frustrating to watch because of this. Music is also important throughout the film, as opposed to for instance Sang-soo Hong's films where food is important to its culture, story, characters... Next the film introduces us to its plot and main characters:

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What happens for the next 3+hrs is equally challenging and daring. I wish it had been longer. I need to rewatch this. Highly recommended.

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#40

Post by themagician » December 21st, 2012, 4:37 pm

Similar to the South Korean films, here's all the 21st century Japanese films I've seen, "ranked": http://themagician.host56.com/21stjapan/index.html

Nothing special.

edit: Would appreciate some good 21st century Japanese film recommendations.
Last edited by themagician on December 21st, 2012, 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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