Reviews by Country
If you enjoyed the award-winning debut feature of writer/director Arvin Chen’s Au Revoir Taipei from a couple of years back, then chances are you will like his second feature length venture from last year, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? The same quirky, rom-com qualities are reused here somewhat, but his growth as a director is noticeable as he continues to experiment with new elements in this latest film. Accompanied by a beautiful musical score by Wen Hsu (the same … (read more)
Hardly ever do the diverse elements of film production blend so seamlessly and appeal to such a wide audience as they do in Starry Starry Night, a recent Taiwan-China co-production. Based on a childrens’ picture book by world-famous Taiwanese artist Jimmy Liao and directed by Taiwan’s Tom Lin, this is one of the best films of the year.
“Coming of age” movies is a sub-genre in most film cultures, mainly because the often painful and confusing time between childhood … (read more)
Sometimes the overwhelming success of a particular genre film can have an unfortunate effect on the movies following it. I’m talking here about Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which has become so popular and awarded since its release in 2000 that it’s now the gold standard for martial arts films. It has allowed lazy film publicists, uninformed film reviewers and the general public to label a new kung fu / martial arts film as simply being not as good, or … (read more)
So let’s get some levels of expectation for Treasure Hunter out of the way first of all. Whilst I thought Jay Chou was fine in both Initial D and Curse of the Golden Flower, his performance in both instances was such a blank slate, it was just a masterstroke casting decision to give him characters that were similarly bland. So certainly not a fanboy of the man. Have probably heard a song or two of his but certainly don’t … (read more)
I first saw Millennium Mambo on my birthday at MIFF in 2002. As an admirer of all Hou’s films, it was a screening I was tremendously excited about. A couple of hours later, I was confused and left wondering what had happened to Hou’s distinctive film style of yesteryear? My first impression was thus one of resistance. Somehow, Mambo hadn’t met my expectations. It was like opening a present and finding something I didn’t like but putting on a gracious … (read more)
Taiwanese director T.F.Mou may not be a prolific film-maker but he is definitely a controversial one. Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre is the follow-up film to his grisly 1988 docudrama Man Behind The Sun .
Working with a larger budget and a broader historical canvas, Mou recreates the horrors behind the rape of Nanking in 1937 by the invading Japanese army. The total destruction of Nanking was seen by the Japanese government as being crucial in breaking the spirit of … (read more)
More accurately translated as ‘The Best of Times’, the latest picture from the most highly regarded formalist in world cinema is a delightfully structured and incredibly focused effort that breathes life into three very different moments in Taiwan’s past and present.
Three separate chapters bear the names of the broad topics that Hou pursues throughout the film: Love, Freedom and Youth. A lyrical romantic odyssey among smokey pool halls precedes a refined observation of national trauma as it is embodied … (read more)
I really didn’t know what I was getting into before walking in on this one. I knew it involved a serial killer and had Tony Leung Ka Fai and David Morse in it. So pretty much I skipped along to my screening of Double Vision with expectations of Silence of the Lambs or Seven. After the second or third macabre ritualistic murder, it was really hard to not draw parallels with Seven. However, while that may very well … (read more)