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Sometimes the third world film-maker finds himself before an illiterate public, swamped by American, Egyptian or Indian serials, and karate films, and he has to go through all this, it is this material that he has to work on, to extract from it the elements of a people who are still missing (Lino Brocka). (Gilles… Continue reading Cain at Abel (Lino Brocka, 1982)
On the writings of Kidlat Tahimik When Kidlat Tahimik was named as one of the recipients of the Prince Claus Awards in 2018, I felt two contradictory reactions when I was asked to write a short biographical note about him for the Nikkei Asian Review. On one hand, for a filmmaker who has produced mostly… Continue reading The Great Cosmic Detour
Viet Thanh Nguyen's novel begins The Sympathizer with a riddle “I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man with two faces”. What is he? Might we ask. The line was spoken by a double agent working for the North Vietnamese Communists as well as for the United States during and shortly after the… Continue reading Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer (2015)
Ari Aster's debut feature Hereditary was celebrated as if one had reinvented slice bread. I was skeptical but he was someone who had something interesting to say. He was able to articulate that interesting thing in Midsommar. The horror genre was being reinvented; a good thing but its not slice bread. The promotion materials made… Continue reading Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)
Enlightenment is not a badge, but a wound. Mike De Leon tells of the transformation of a charity worker nun into a politically active front-line soldier. Mike De Leon is next to Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal in the line of master directors of the second golden age of Filipino cinema. Compared to his colleagues,… Continue reading Sister Stella L. (Mike De Leon, 1984)
Hong Kong 1962: Ambitious newspaper editor Chow (Tony Leung Ka Fai) and shy secretary Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) are among the many immigrants who have fled to the British crown colony after the conquest of Shanghai by the Chinese Communists. Although both are married and receive a regular salary, they can afford only a subleased room… Continue reading In the mood for love (Wong Kar-Wai, 2000)