So since my last post I have seen 12 more East Asian films. The ones to talk about are the Zhang Ke Jia films, Lino Brocka’s films, and the Thai film Syndromes And A Century.
Zhang Ke Jia
Great stuff on the people of China who aren’t benefiting from the economic boom. Those who still live in poverty. Who have to resort to crime. And all the people who are spinning their wheels under a totalitarian government going nowhere. Zhang follows in the tradition of Italian neorealism. Think Angelopoulos and Hsaio-Hsien. I don’t know how stuff like this is getting through the censors, but I am grateful since directors like Zhang Yimou are making stuff like Not One Less (1999). Not to mention propaganda like The Founding Of A Republic (2009).
So far I have seen 5 of his films: Xiao Wu (1997), Platform (2000), Unknown Pleasures (2002), The World (2004), and Still Life (2006). I am going to see 24 City (2008) and if I can track it down I plan to see Useless (2007).
Manila: In The Claws Of Neon (1975)
My first two Filipino films are by a director named Lino Brocka. At times he reminds me of Almodovar in terms of it’s use of noir and homosexuality. However, there is a definite strain of social realism in his work. The current screenshot is from the end of his film Manila: In The Claws Of Neon (1975). I am excited to see more by Brocka and other Filipino filmmakers.
This film was voted the best film of the decade at the Toronto International Film Festival. Although I was happy to see a Thai film that wasn’t Tears Of The Black Tiger (2000) this film doesn’t live up to the hype. With still images, objects, and landscapes it’s beautiful, but whenever there are people or emotions the film doesn’t hold up. What a shame. I would like to see some more Thai films, but I don’t plan to see anymore of the films of Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Onward to more East Asian Cinema. I still have to see a film from Mongolia, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Malaysia.