Berlin Film Review: ‘The Rice Bomber’

Berlin Film Review: ‘The Rice Bomber’
Like wet dynamite, “The Rice Bomber” has trouble achieving the desired explosive momentum with its potentially incendiary history of Taiwan’s downtrodden farmers. Recounting the early life of ecological activist Yang Rumen, who went to jail for 17 bombing incidents staged to draw public attention to unfair agrarian policies, helmer Cho Li’s well-meaning attempt to provide a comprehensive picture results in a preachy first hour and a dearth of cinematic visuals. Fortunately for audiences, the intrinsically fascinating material on Yang trumps the dry narrative style, and he emerges as an extraordinary figure — romantic but eccentric, desperate yet driven. The film’s socially conscious message will find sympathy among indie fests and on educational channels.

The film is based on Yang’s book “White Rice Is Not a Bomb,” and the narrative is up to its ears in voiceover, quoting wordy excerpts of his ideals and philosophies. It also assumes considerable
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Asian Movie Awards Nominees Announced

The announcement of the Asian Movie Awards has just been released with some big films and actors going against against each other to win the big awards. Some of these include Drug War (Louis Koo), Outrage Beyond, actors such as Choi Min-sik and Tony Leung Ka-fai, to Directors such as Takeshi Kitano and Lou Ye.

I do have a few favorites in this list and i feel best movie could go to Drug War and best actor should fall to Choi Min-sik (just brilliant in every movie).

Here is the list of nominations below, feel free to write your favorites in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

Best Film

“Drug War” (Mainland China)

Gangs of Wasseypur, Part 1 & 2″ (India)

Mystery” (Mainland China)

“Outrage Beyond” (Japan)

Pieta” (South Korea)

Best Director

Anurag Kashyap, “Gangs of Wasseypur, Part 1 & 2″ (India)

Abbas Kiarostami, “Like Someone in Love” (Japan/France/Iran)

Kim Ki-duk,
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Anurag Kashyap, Anand Gandhi nominated for Asian Film Awards

Anurag Kashyap, Anand Gandhi nominated for Asian Film Awards
Four Indian films have been nominated for the 7th Asian Film Awards with Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur leading the pack with four nominations: Best Film, Anurag Kashyap for Best Director, Wasiq Khan for Best Production Designer and Rajeev Ravi for Best Cinematographer.

In other nominations, Nawazuddin Siddiqui will compete for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Talaash, Anand Gandhi contends for Best Screenwriter for his debut film Ship of Theseus and Pritam Chakraborty vies for Best Composer Award for his melodies in Barfi!.

Andy Lau, a noted actor of Hong Kong will head the judging panel. A total of 30 films from nine countries will compete under 14 categories at the award function to be held on 18th March, 3013. The annual event is organised by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society.

Full List of Nominations:

Best Film

Drug War (Mainland China)

Gangs of Wasseypur, Part 1 & 2 (India)

Mystery (Mainland
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Tiff: A Funny Man, Love and Bruises,... Anatolia

Amir, here, back with more coverage of new Tiff films. The Toronto International Film Festival is winding down but luckily I have a couple of big name movies still scheduled. Here's a few from the last two days.

Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

This Cannes grand prix winner is a slow-paced police procedural in which a doctor, a prosecutor and a group of other police agents drag an alleged murderer along with them in the rural Anatolia region of Turkey so he can show them where he’s hidden his victim’s body. More than half of this gorgeously shot film is spent during the night and I for one wished the morning never came. Gokhan Tiryaki’s impeccable lighting and the varied range of shots he creates in the limitless but monotonous locale of the film easily tops my personal list of best cinematography of the year.
See full article at FilmExperience »

Golden Horse Awards: Ethan's Little Buddy, Nicholas Absent Shirt

The Golden Horse Awards were held last night. They're often thought of as the Chinese Oscars because the tradition goes back the furthest and honors a wide pool of Chinese language films from multiple countries (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, etcetera). Though neither Monga, Taiwan's submission for Oscar's Foreign Language Film competition, nor Aftershock (China's submission), were nominated for Best Picture they both had multiple nominations .

Monga, a popular youth crime drama we've mentioned before, won Best Actor for 28 year old Ethan Ruan (left), who amusingly brought a cardboard cutout of his  co-star who was not nominated. And yes he brought the cutout with him onstage when he won. He said...

Woo! Sorry, I brought my buddy along. [mimicing his co-star] 'Hi everyone. I'm Mark Chao' big laughs from the crowd.

Here's the Best Actor presentation. The clips begin at 2:25 after Li BingBing and Tony Leung Ka Fai (yes,
See full article at FilmExperience »

Summer Palace

Summer Palace
CANNES -- Lou Ye's Summer Palace is an intimate epic that works its way through recent Chinese political and social history, roughly from 1987-2001, by depicting young people's first taste of freedom and self-expression and its brutal suppression by authorities. That taste then changes course, embracing economic freedoms and greater productivity but at personal costs that lead to restless dissatisfaction and an emotional anguish that has never been resolved.

At the heart of the film is a powerful performance by the beautiful and most promising Hao Lei as its tempestuous, complex heroine. Captivating and infuriating to the men in her life, she seeks love again and again but never finds fulfillment for long. Her one great love is a grand folly, a love that challenges both lovers but will not yield to domestic bliss.

The film has a flaw in that it is far too long, a condition easily fixed with further editing. The more immediate problem is that this Chinese-French co-production may anger Chinese censors by screening in Cannes before obtaining their approval. The film could be denied exhibition in China and even overseas exposure. Certainly, the censors will find much to dislike not only in its graphic sex scenes but the entire Tiananmen Square sequence, which touches on what is still a forbidden topic in mainland China. You can only hope that this compelling film will at least get further exposure at international festivals.

Curiously, Lou situates the Tiananmen sequences -- which are the film's actual climax -- in the very middle. Of course, history did this, not Lou and his co-writers, Feng Mei and Ma Yingli. Nevertheless, this divides the story into two very different films.

The first is a heady, romantic tale of student life at Beijing University in the late '80s. Restless Hong Yu (Hao) leaves her boyfriend and village near the North Korean border to study in the capital. There she falls into a mad affair with fellow student Wei Zhou (Guo Xiaodong).

The two are compelled to jeopardize this love with dangerous games of sexual experimentation and one-upmanship. These sexual freedoms, the film implies, spill over into political unrest and demands for freedom and democracy. As students flock to the square in 1989 and flout social order, the film and the relationships of Yu, her lover, her girlfriend Li Ti (Hu Lingling) and her boyfriend Ruo Gu (Zhang Xianmin) boil over.

In the aftermath of the crushing of the democracy movement, the film traces the subsequent lives of these former students. Ti, Gu and eventually Zhou end up in Berlin. Yu drifts from lover to lover, finding that only in sex can she demonstrate her gentle, caring side.

Lou deliberately and bravely drains away the romantic fever of the first half for a more focused study in social compromises and encounters with Western culture and ideas. This is necessarily a more downbeat and sober story, one that could have used a quicker pace. Nevertheless, Lou has created a remarkable portrait of a headstrong woman and a generation of Chinese that still finds itself at a crossroads in that country's history.

Qing Hua's nervous, handheld camera plunges you into the thick of all the action, whether in school dorms or chaotic streets, and Peyman Yazdanian's Western-style musical score is somehow just right.


Dream Factory/Laurel Films/Rosem Films/Fantasy Pictures


Director: Lou Ye

Screenwriters: Feng Mei, Ma Yingli, Lou Ye

Producers: Sylvain Bursztjen, Li Fang

Director of photography: Qing Hua

Production designer: Weixin Liu

Music: Peyman Yazdanian

Costumes: Katja Kirn

Editors: Lou Ye, Jian Zeng


Hong Yu: Hao Lei

Wei Zhou: Guo Xiaodong

Li Ti: Hu Lingling

Ruo Gu: Zhang Xianmin

No MPAA rating

Running time -- 140 minutes

See also

Credited With | External Sites