Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is a 2002 romance drama film with dialogues in Sichuan dialect directed by Dai Sijie and starring Zhou Xun, Chen Kun and Liu Ye. It premiered at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival on 16 May.

 

Based on the 2000 semi-autobiographical novel of the same title by Dai, the film revolves around two young Chinese boys of bourgeoisie backgrounds who were sent to a remote village in Sichuan province for three years of re-education during the Cultural Revolution. They both fell in love with a beautiful local girl, granddaughter of an old tailor and known to everyone as the Little Seamstress. During those years of intellectual oppression, the three found solace and liberation in a collection of banned translated novels by Western authors, among whom their favourite was Balzac. The film explores the themes of youth, love, and freedom in those dark times in China.

Read more...

0 comments | comment

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in North America) is a 2008 drama based on the novel of the same name by Irish writer John Boyne.  Directed by Mark Herman and produced by David Heyman, it stars Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, David Thewlis, and Vera Farmiga.

 

A Holocaust drama, the film explores the horror of a World War II extermination camp through the eyes of two eight-year-old boys, one the son of the camp's Nazi commandant, the other a Jewish inmate.

Read more...

1 comment | comment

Baraka (1992) is a non-narrative film directed by Ron Fricke.

 

The film is often compared to Koyaanisqatsi, the first of the Qatsi films by Godfrey Reggio of which Fricke was cinematographer. Baraka's subject matter has some similarities—including footage of various landscapes, churches, ruins, religious ceremonies, and cities thrumming with life, filmed using time-lapse photography in order to capture the great pulse of humanity as it flocks and swarms in daily activity. The film also features a number of long tracking shots through various settings, including one through former German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Tuol Sleng (in Cambodia) turned into museums honoring their victims: over photos of the people involved, past skulls stacked in a room, to a spread of bones. In addition to making comparisons between natural and technological phenomena, such as in Koyaanisqatsi, Baraka searches for a universal cultural perspective: for instance, following a shot of an elaborate tattoo on a bathing Japanese yakuza mobster with one of Native Australian tribal paint.

Read more...

0 comments | comment

Before Sunset is a 2004 American romantic drama film and the sequel to Before Sunrise (1995). Like its predecessor, the film was directed by Richard Linklater. However, this time Linklater shares screenplay credit with both actors from the movies, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Linklater also shares story credit with the original Before Sunrise screenwriter Kim Krizan.

 

The film picks up the story in Before Sunrise where an American young man and a French young woman meet on a train and spend one night in Vienna. Nine years later in Before Sunset, their paths intersect again. It plays out in real time as they spend one afternoon together in Paris.

Read more...

0 comments | comment

Before Sunrise is a 1995 romantic drama film directed by Richard Linklater and written by Linklater and Kim Krizan. The film follows Jesse (Ethan Hawke), a young American, and Céline (Julie Delpy), a young French woman, who meet on a train and disembark in Vienna, where they spend the night walking around the city and getting to know each other.

 

The plot is minimalist, since aside from walking and talking, not much happens. The two characters' ideas and perspectives on life and love are detailed. Jesse is a romantic disguised as a cynic, and Céline is seemingly a romantic, albeit with some doubts. Taking place over the course of one night, their limited time together is always on their minds, and leads to their revealing more about themselves than they normally would, since both believe they will never see one another again.

Read more...

0 comments | comment

Gattaca is a 1997 American science fiction film written and directed by Andrew Niccol. It stars Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law with supporting roles played by Loren Dean, Ernest Borgnine, Gore Vidal and Alan Arkin.  The film was a 1997 nominee for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction — Set Decoration.

 

The film presents a biopunk vision of a society driven by liberal eugenics where potential children are selected through preimplantation genetic diagnosis to ensure they possess the best hereditary traits of their parents. A genetic registry database uses biometrics to instantly identify and classify those so created as "valids" while those conceived by traditional means are derisively known as "in-valids". While genetic discrimination is forbidden by law, in practice it is easy to profile a person's genotype resulting in the Valids qualifying for professional employment while the In-Valids (who are considered to be more susceptible to physical, intellectual and psychological dysfunction and under-performance) are relegated to menial jobs. The movie draws on concerns over reproductive technologies which facilitate eugenics, and the possible consequences of such technological developments for society. It also explores the idea of human spirit and the ways in which it can and does govern lives. Characters in Gattaca continually battle both with the society and with themselves to find their place in the world and who they are destined to be according to their genes.

Read more...

0 comments | comment

The Big Lebowski is a 1998 comedy film with elements of noir written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Jeff Bridges stars as Jeff Lebowski, an unemployed Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler, who is referred to (and also refers to himself) as "The Dude". After a case of mistaken identity, The Dude is introduced to a millionaire also named Jeffrey Lebowski. When the millionaire Lebowski's trophy wife is later kidnapped, he commissions The Dude to deliver the ransom to secure her release. The plan goes awry when The Dude's friend Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) schemes to keep the full ransom. Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Huddleston, Julianne Moore, Tara Reid, and John Turturro star in the film, which is narrated by a cowboy known only as "Stranger," played by Sam Elliott.

Read more...

1 comment | comment

Into the Wild is a 2007 American drama film by Sean Penn based on the 1996 non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer about the adventures of Christopher McCandless. The film stars Emile Hirsch, William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden. The film premiered during the Rome Film Fest and later opened outside of Fairbanks, Alaska in September 2007.

Read more...

0 comments | comment

Forrest Gump is a movie heart-breaker of oddball wit and startling grace. There's talk of another Oscar for Tom Hanks, who is unforgettable as the sweet-natured, shabbily treated simpleton of the title. The Academy is a sucker for honoring afflicted heroes. In Hollywood, it's always raining rain men. Credit Hanks for not overplaying his hand. He brings a touching gravity to the role of an idiot savant from the South who finds strength in God, country, his childhood pal, Jenny (Robin Wright), and his good mama (Sally Field). When Forrest falls a few IQ points shy of minimal school requirements, Mama knows who to sleep with to bend the rules. Her son has a gift. As Forrest makes his pilgrim's progress from the '50s to the '80s, he becomes a college football star, a Vietnam war hero, a shrimp tycoon and even a father...

Read more...

2 comments | comment

What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a 1993 film directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio. Peter Hedges wrote the screenplay adapted from his 1991 novel of the same name. It was filmed in the Texas cities of Manor, Elgin, and Lockhart.

Read more...

0 comments | comment