Category Archives: Foreign Language Film

Samsara (2001) Film Review

Tashi (Shawn Ku) is a monk who lives in silence but is plagued by wet dreams, his sexual drive hindering his spiritual journey. When visiting a village, he meets Pema (Christy Chung), falls in love and marries her. But he is still unsettled.

Clearly, this is told from the male perspective. It’s his spiritual journey, his needs which must be met, and whatever happens to the woman is unimportant. He won’t listen to guidance, he knows best. All of this made me quite grumpy. Yet, set in the Himalayas, the scenery is so stunning that I tried to ignore my feminist outrage and just enjoy the scenery.

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La Dolce Vita (1960) Film Review

Marcello Rubini is a reporter in Italy in the 1960s who drifts in and out of various scenes, veering between hedonistic partying and melancholia.

It’s a stunning film with glamourous people in beautiful outfits, driving stunning cars, drinking champagne and talking fast. But there is a real edge to it, and I feel that this is really heightened watching it sixty years after it was made.

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Happy Together (1997) Film Review

Kar-Wei Wong is a highly respected film maker from Hong Kong who works in the style of French new wave, and this was touted as one of the best examples of his style. It followed two young men from Hong Kong in Argentina as they have a tumultuous relationship. One minute, they’re in love (although even when they are in love, it’s depressing), the next they are apart and seem to hate each other. I struggled to see the appeal of this film. I couldn’t follow the timeline, it chopped and changed so much that just when I thought I knew what was happening, I realised I didn’t. Plus the cinematography was… strange. Odd colours, unclear images. I was lost. And bored.

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Tickets (2005) Film Review

Three stories by three directors all based on trains on the same day. An older man returning home dreams of a relationship with a beautiful colleague; a horrible woman is accompanied by a young man who is not her son, but it is for a long time unclear who he is in relation to her; and a trio of Scottish soccer fans encounter a family of refugees after a ticket goes missing.

I wanted to like this film. I feel like it’s an ‘important’ film. Each of the directors (Abbas Kiarostami, Ken Loach and Ermanno Olmi) are significant directors. But to me, each story felt underwritten and weak, and while I concede that they make statements about human nature… I just didn’t care. To me, it felt like the type of film I may have pretended to love back at uni to impress a lecturer.

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An Autumn Afternoon (1962) Film Review

 

Shuher Hirayama (Chishu Ryu) is an widower who is cared for my his daughter, Michiko (Shima Iwashita). He doesn’t want things to change, but starts to realise that if he doesn’t let his daughter marry, she may be stuck alone forever. He comes to these realisations through interactions with some old school mates and an old teacher.

It’s very much a film of its time. I loved seeing Japan as it was in the 60s, just the general day-to-day of the place. However, it really could have used a bit of editing… it goes for nearly two hours, but could easily have been told in half that time. However, I think this is partly because most film storytelling is far faster now, and it’s easy for me to become impatient with a slow story.

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Pom Poko (1994) Film Review

When raccoons keep having their world destroyed by urban development, they decide to take matters into their own hands.

Studio Ghibli films are their own strange, wonderful, mysterious worlds. This is like Watership Down, only with terrorism and shapeshifting… it’s magnificently odd and wonderful.

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2046 (2004) Film Review

This is a confusing but very beautiful story of Chow Mo-Wan and his various loves. Unfortunately, I watched this some time ago, and so I am going on my memories of the film and descriptions online, but I remember it being stunning, with some beautiful science fiction set in a fictional future world of 2046. I don’t think I’d rush out to see it again, but must try to remember to find a proper screening in a cinema in 2046 (surely it will happen!) so I can appreciate it properly.

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