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Samsara (2002)

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From the very first moment of this film, we are inducted into the rhythm of life at the top of the world: the pacing is glacially slow, and the filmmakers were extraordinarily successful in pulling us into the same calm world. The lives depicted are simple and unhurried: there is a time for everything, and everything takes its own time.

Now I’ve seen films that aspire to this slow beauty but fall short, and manage only to make the audience … (read more)

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The Bride With White Hair 2 (1993)

The Bride With White Hair is one of the guaranteed classics of Asian cinema. The Bride With White Hair 2, alas, is not.

I soooo wanted to be able to say something good about this. Really. But there’s precious little good to say. All the glories of the first film have turned to dust and ashes and second-rate burlesque here. The sweeping epic beauty of the original, which could make us forgive the occasional scenery-chewing (such as Francis’ star … (read more)

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Jan Dara (2001)

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Thinking about the review for this film inspired an interesting, and possibly important, question — what exactly defines erotic? Jan Dara is based on a popular erotic novel, The Story of Jan Dara (Rueang Khong Jan Dara) by Utsana Pleungtham, and yes there’s plenty of tasteful nudity and (possibly not so tasteful) sex in it, but after it was all over, I found myself wondering whether there shouldn’t have been just a little more to it.

What that … (read more)

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Fantasia (2004)

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Yeah! Chinese New Year! Fireworks, Lion Dancing, Dragonboating, the colour, the energy, the food… and of course the mandatory CNY films out of Hong Kong to give us a kickstart into the new year of the Monkey.

And yes, Fantasia is one of those films that gives us a kick. Unfortunately not exactly the kind of kick you want to start the new year with (unless of course you LIKE rolling around the floor in pain – but who am … (read more)

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