eastern

Honogurai mizu no soko kara * Hideo Nakata * 2002

Dark Water

This is something I already feared. Japanese horrors are nice, but too much the same and most are just nice and not really good. Nakata was at least the director that gave Japanese horror a place in the world of film with his “Ringu” and “Dark Water” is one of the earlier other films in this vein, but I saw it way too late. Anyway, the original “Ringu” is nice, but not as scary as “Ju-On” for example. “Dark Water” isn’t also one of the better films in this style, but still it is an enjoyable film. Again a cursed house, but as the title suggests, water plays a major part in it. The atmosphere is not as pressing as in the other mentioned films, so this is actually more of a thriller maybe. An alright film.

Geoul Sokeuro * Seong-Ho Kim * 2003

into the mirror

This is a Korean film so of course it is compared to Asian horror clasics like “Ringu”, “Ju-On” and of course “Janghwa, Hongryeon”. This is not just! “Geoul Sokeuro” is not a ‘pure horror’ film like the others. In basis “Geoul” is a crime/police film, but the subject is ‘supernatural’. The film starts nice Asian dark and horrorish, but most of the film is more like a police-film, but in this case looking for an inhuman murderer. The film is nice and at least a variety to the popular theme, so that is a good thing. The story is not too original, but typical for an Eastern film, it is superstitious/mythological.

Gemini * Shinya Tsukamoto * 1999

Yep, another Japanese film. No horror/thriller this time though. Well, no “Ringu” anyway.

Both the story of and the film “Gemini” (not in the internet movie database ?!?) itself are pretty strange. You get to see the life of a Japanese married couple that gets into a mess. I am afraid that anything I say will give away the content the story and we don’t want that. So I will only mention that “Gemini” is a drama with a few thriller-elements and a couple of extremely dark scenes that we love the Japanese films for. The film is shot nice and vague and has a lot of flashbacks. The story is about a ‘German style doctor’ and his wife, is told nicely and unravels as the film goes. A very good Japanese film and also a very nice insight in the daily life Japan.

Dolls * Takeshi Kitano * 2002

Not the kind of Japanese film like I have seen recently. No creepy horror-thriller, but a heavy drama. Strange that everything is in Japanese (credits, anouncements, etc.) but the title. Anyway, “Dolls” shows a couple of tragic lovestories. Overall “Dolls” is a strange film with pretty original stories. A red line is two young people who walk through Japan tied to eachother with a red rope. There are extraordinary beautiful shots of the Japanese nature. The film is very minimal, no sound when no sound is needed and the same goes for conversations. I am also heavily under the impression that there is a lot of underlying symbolism that I don’t understand. Wanderers have certain coloured clothing, the trees have very bright colours in different parts of the film, Japanese puppet-playing comes back at times apparently to clear some things out, but not to me. A Japanese film for a Japanese audience that understands such things?
In the end I can say that this is definately no feel-good movie, but a nice one if you want to see some other kind of film/drama sometimes.

Devotion and Defiance * 2004

Countless times I had planned to go to savetibet.org and order something to at least to something for the suppressed people of Tibet, how little it is. We tend to forget. It has been so long ago since the Chinese decided to occupy Tibet and violently entered the country on the rooftop of the world. Monastries were destroyed, monks and nuns beaten or worse. China sent her own inhabitents to Tibet to force their culture on the Tibetan people and recently they even glamourously opened a railway connection from China to Tibet in the hope that more people (Chinese or tourists) will invade the country. For economic reasons, the West doesn’t do a thing. China is too much of an interesting partner to point towards the injustice they commit in their neighbouring country. Worse even, Westerners think it is hip to go on a ‘spiritual journey’ to the city of Lhasa or visit one of the monastries (under Chinese command). Exactly what the Chinese want! In any case, for a long time, the “international campaign for Tibet” try to bring the subject under attention. With success I might add, since many people buy their Tibetan flags and DVDs and so did I. I hope the money is well-spent, but I think a Western “no” to China would be much more helpfull than some money.
“Devotion and Defiance” is a 35-minute documentary that may not bring much news. You will see about the invasion of China, the suppressed Tibetans, the ups and downs of the people, a bit about the monastries. I may have seen this documentary, or one much like it, on TV already, but that doesn’t mind. It is only $ 6,-, undoubtely by far not enough to make a stand, but still, if everyone buys something from this organisation, something might happen some day.