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Author Topic: East Asian Cinema  (Read 1531 times)  Share 

El Unicornio, mang

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East Asian Cinema
« on: February 17, 2012, 08:27:59 am »
I recently watched South Korean thriller The Chaser, loved it, and have been wanting to find out more about films from there and surrounding countries. I've watched a couple of good documentaries from China, Up the Yangtze and Last Train Home, South Korean revenge flick Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and I have Aftershock (2010, China), Nobody Knows (2004, Japan), I Saw the Devil and The Yellow Sea (both 2010, Good Korea) lined up to watch. I've seen quite a few of the more famous Japanese exports such as Akira, Battle Royale, Ring and Seven Samurai, but looking for ones which maybe didn't get as much or any attention in the West.

Hank Venture

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2012, 09:02:57 am »
Check out Memories of Murder, Mother, Visitor Q and Audition. Obviously Oldboy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Also Men Behind The Sun and Grave of the Fireflies. Umm. Infernal Affairs, Headshot and The Raid.

Note: I haven't seen all of these, but those I haven't seen I've heard good things about, so probably worth it to give them a go.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2012, 09:17:49 am »
In the absence of The Boston Crab, allow me to recommend some Wong Kar-wai.  Get a load of In the Mood For Love or Chungking Express.

BlodwynPig

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2012, 10:27:40 am »
Dark Water and Tale of Two Sisters on the "horror" side. Gozu is less talked about - surreal beyond a doubt. Happines of the Katakuris (Sound of Music meets Dawn of the Dead). Chocolate (see below)


CaledonianGonzo

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2012, 10:36:03 am »
How about some proper classics?  Tokyo Story is calm, stately and genuinely moving.  Rashomon has it all - intrigue, uncertainty, amazing cinematography.  And it gave us this:

Quote
Marge:  Come on, Homer.  Japan will be fun!  You liked Rashomon.

Homer:  That's not how I remember it!

El Unicornio, mang

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2012, 12:08:40 pm »
Thanks, I'll check out these recommendations. Audition I heard was pretty intense.

Consignia

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 01:02:58 pm »
Happines of the Katakuris (Sound of Music meets Dawn of the Dead).

To be fair, that's not a particularly accurate description of the film. It's a great comedy musical and I loved it, but there's no zombies in it outside of a single song.

One of my favourite films has to be JSA. It's from the director the vengeance films, and I'll pretty much like anything he does, but it's the best for me.

BlodwynPig

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 01:22:05 pm »
To be fair, that's not a particularly accurate description of the film. It's a great comedy musical and I loved it, but there's no zombies in it outside of a single song.

One of my favourite films has to be JSA. It's from the director the vengeance films, and I'll pretty much like anything he does, but it's the best for me.

You are right, but that's how I remember it being described - even though I have seen the film. Must watch it again then.

Audition is not so intense. Good but not graphic.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2012, 01:35:44 pm »
I dunno - the latter stages of Audition are not something I'd really be willing to sit through again.

That said, as I get older my appetitite for most varieties of cinematic extremity - torture, rape, etc. - has dwindled down to more or less zero, even when it's dramatically justified.  In the case of Audition, mostly due to it's extreme shifts in tone, I'm not sure that it is.

BlodwynPig

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2012, 01:41:59 pm »
I think you can get away with most things, artistically, if its done with subtlety and skill.

The torture porn genre is not subtle.

Audition is done well in that the back story is strong and the main piece builds up steadily to the unnerving climax. The film allows for breath to be taken and other emotions to flood in. It's not all Bzzzzzzzzzzz, chop, slam, wallop, fuck.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2012, 01:48:45 pm »
Oh, I'm not calling for films not to feature such stuff, just admitting to myself that it's not for me - at least, not any more.

Though this might be the first time that the work of Takashi Miike has been referred to as 'subtle'.

(Mind you, I'll probably get around to watching Thirteen Assassins at some point).

BlodwynPig

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2012, 01:51:45 pm »
Oh, I was actually agreeing with you. I don't look forward to seeing a beating or a tongue slicing off or a man in a sack then get his feet cut off - much in the same way I won't watch Irreversible again due to those two scenes.

However, if the film as a whole has merit and is done with panache and skill, then these kind of scenes ADD to the experience in a way that a simple lead pipe to the cranium cannot in a torture porn movie.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2012, 02:02:32 pm »
Yup - agreed.  Stuff like that adds to Oldboy rather than detracts from it.

Anyway, Kurosawa's Ikiru doesn't seem to be as raved over as things like Seven Samurai (probably, I guess, due to the more prosaic setting and themes), but it's one of my favourites of his:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikiru

riotinlagos

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2012, 02:09:28 pm »
I have Nobody Knows (2004, Japan) lined up to watch.

I haven't watched that yet (it's also on my list), but I thoroughly recommend Still Walking (by the same director, Hirokazu Kore-eda). Mubi have most of Kore-eda's films, it's worth making the most of their two week trial. Peppermint Candy (Good Korea) is well worth checking out also.

A Taste of Tea and Funky Forest are next on my pile.







Smeraldina Rima

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2012, 03:18:29 pm »
If you like Chungking Express you could try Fruit Chan's Public Toilet.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xciUkX9i2kM

Tampopo is on youtube. It's a noodle restaurant comedy western.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4BQnw5WzY8

Paaaaul

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2012, 04:15:37 pm »
Though this might be the first time that the work of Takashi Miike has been referred to as 'subtle'.

The Bird People In China is a beautiful, downbeat and subtle film, and probably my favourite of Miike.

VegaLA

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2012, 04:27:49 pm »
I have a lot of these titles on my NAS I keep meaning to watch but I never get a chance. Still something to look forwards to.

AVOID all Pinoy Horror films, complete and utter boredom. I forget most of the titles but Txt was the final straw. That said I did enjoy the drama 'Manila by night' which was made in 1980. I guess they can't do Horros like their neighbours.

El Unicornio, mang

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2012, 05:34:04 pm »
A couple I've watched so far:

Audition - I wish I hadn't known what happens half way through this film (the cover pretty much gives it away for one thing), as the effect of it turning from a light romantic drama to an insane psycho-horror would have been a lot more effective. Just seeing her slumped next to the phone with that bag would have horribly chilled me. If you haven't seen it yet, don't read anything more about it.

I Saw the Devil - this was very beautifully filmed, well acted, some very good action scenes and a couple of riveting twists. Let down a bit by some quite gratuitous gore/torture/sexual cruelty scenes. Also the overall "message" of the film is quite hackneyed, and it's about half an hour too long. Worth seeing, but the talent and skill could have been put to slightly better use I think.

Harpo Speaks

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2012, 05:56:30 pm »
I endorse the recommendations for Mother and Memories of Murder.

alan nagsworth

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2012, 12:17:24 am »
The Bird People In China is a beautiful, downbeat and subtle film, and probably my favourite of Miike.

Agreed. It's an absolute corker, even had me in tears at the end. Miike really bares his soul and it's a rare glimpse into the complex emotional side of his work that is deliberately cloaked extreme violence and depravity in his other films.

phantom_power

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2012, 08:27:57 am »
Takeshi Kitano has made some great films. I would recommend Sonatine and Brother (which is set in America). although Gozu and Violent Cop are supposed to be good as well.

Early Jet Li films are good if you like martial arts. My favourite is Fist of Legend (a retelling of the Fist of Fury story) but Once Upon a Time in China is also very good.

Stephen Chow is another one to look out for. Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer are amazing and God of Cookery is also supposed to be worth a watch

alan nagsworth

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2012, 06:05:10 pm »
Wow, I had never heard of God of Cookery until now! I ran a search a couple of years back but I'm sure it only came up with his other two. Either way, thanks!

Famous Mortimer

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2012, 07:30:28 am »
Tampopo is on youtube. It's a noodle restaurant comedy western.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4BQnw5WzY8
Splendid, I keep meaning to watch it, and now I shall.

Kawaii Five-O

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2012, 08:31:55 pm »
I second the recommendation of A Tale of Two Sisters, it's such a well-crafted mix of spooky and subtle. One of the best horrors I've seen. And The Happiness of the Katakuris is lots of fun.

Departures is a gorgeous film, really really lovely. And 2046 (by Wong Kar Wai mentioned above) is just stunning.

I'm a Cyborg and that's OK - I just love this film. It's by Park Chan-Wook though completely different from the vengeance films. Sweet friendship story.

Memories of Matsuko is one of my favourites, a sort of mad musical melodrama. With a pop prostitution montage.

Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers is a really good little comedy about a bored housewife who becomes a spy. I'm also looking forward to Adrift in Tokyo by the same director coming out on dvd next week, I've been waiting to see that for ages.

I've got Poetry waiting to be watched, hoping to make some time this week for it. I'm a right sop for poignant films/stories about old people. (And I recommend Cherry Blossoms if, like me, you are drawn to poignant tales of ageing that turn you into a crumpled mess. It's a German film half-set in Japan and it's just beautiful.)

I've also been meaning to watch Tampopo, looks immensely fun.


lazarou

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2012, 02:51:19 am »
Also Men Behind The Sun and Grave of the Fireflies. Umm. Infernal Affairs, Headshot and The Raid.

Note: I haven't seen all of these, but those I haven't seen I've heard good things about, so probably worth it to give them a go.

Just to chip in, I'd be wary of Men Behind the Sun, there's a reason it's got such a nasty reputation even among the Cannibal Holocaust kind of fan crowd. Cadavers used for gore shots, torching live rats, that kind of thing. It's a detestable piece of work.

I don't mean this as a slight on you Hank, as you may not have seen it. Just wanted to get a bit of a warning in there.

El Unicornio, mang

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2012, 03:41:29 am »
Men Behind the Sun is nasty (I fast forwarded past the cat/rat death scene) but I think his other film, Black Sun, is nastier. A baby dropped in boiling water, a fetus ripped out of a woman's stomach with a bayonet, a priest castrated, a girl of about 7 raped by soldiers, etc. The Japanese did a lot of awful shit during WWII, but these films are hideously exploitative and gratuitous.

lazarou

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2012, 05:06:48 am »
I can imagine. I'd heard some things about it, but after Men... I just couldn't bring myself to watch it. Kind of wish I hadn't watched that one even.

In a lighter exploitation vein, a personal favourite of mine is Wild Zero (warning: it's a fucking loud trailer). An absolute mess of a film, but a joyous one. Essentially one big promo for Japanese rock n' roll throwbacks Guitar Wolf, except they've cast themselves as impossibly cool guitar-slinging superheroes helping a hapless fan find true love in a zombie apocalypse. Rubbish CGI gore in places and almost no sense of pacing to speak of, but carries itself through on sheer enthusiasm. Great soundtrack too.

phantom_power

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2012, 08:38:40 am »
Versus is a good crazy noisy film like Wild Zero. On  an equally odd but quieter note Save the Green Planet is a sweet, disturbing film from (iI think) Korea.

Oh forgot about Zatoichi from Takeshi Kitano and of course there is John Woo's masterpieces Hard boiled, The Killer and Bullet in the Head

BlodwynPig

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2012, 08:51:18 am »
The Men Behind the Sun wiki page has the film poster - doesn't leave much to the imagination.

El Unicornio, mang

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Re: East Asian Cinema
« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2012, 08:55:45 am »
The pic on the Black Sun wiki page doesn't leave much to the imagination either (fetus on a bayonet scene that I mentioned above)



I like that they felt the need to add that warning, in case people think it might be a gentle romantic comedy or something.