3 items from 2016
The first successes of Asian films in the Oscars occured during the 50’s, when the award for Foreign-Language Film was not yet introduced and the Academy presented Special/Honorary awards to the best foreign language films released in the United States. Three Japanese productions received these awards during this decade.
1951. Rashomon, by Akira Kurosawa. A priest, a woodcutter and another man are taking refuge from a rainstorm in the shell of a former gatehouse called Rashômon. The priest and the woodcutter are recounting the story of a murdered samurai whose body the woodcutter discovered three days earlier in a forest grove. Both were summoned to testify at the murder trial, the priest who ran into the samurai and his wife traveling through the forest just before the murder occurred.
Three other people who testified at the trial are supposedly the only direct witnesses: a notorious bandit named Tajômaru, who allegedly »
- Panos Kotzathanasis
Asia House Film Festival | Borderlines Film Festival
As you’d expect, there are new titles from big regional hitters such as China and Japan here, but also films from the Asian countries you rarely hear from or about. Like Kazakhstan – two sides of which can be seen in the films of Yermek Tursunov: Zhat (Stranger) is a scenic wilderness adventure in the vein of Kurosawa’s Dersu Uzala; and Little Brother (Kenzhe), an urban hitman thriller. There are also new features from Myanmar (monk’s story Panchagavya), Tajikistan (rural women’s tale Chilla), Mongolia (rockumentary Live From Ub) and even a short from Saudi Arabia. Offerings closer to the sort of thing you might expect include an eye-opening documentary on South Korea’s celebrity pro-gamers (State Of Play) and Japanese schoolgirl anime The Case Of Hana And Alice, while rising Chinese star Zhang Wei is one of many directors in attendance here, »
- Steve Rose
“I wouldn’t say that Westerns were a big influence on The Revenant at all, really,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu tells Film Comment. “I was looking more toward things like Dersu Uzala by Kurosawa, Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev—which is maybe my favorite film ever—Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo, even Apocalypse Now. These are movies that are epic, that have spectacle and are very grand statements, but are informed by the crazy fucking theatrical show that is the human condition. The beauty and harshness of nature impacts your state of mind in these movies. There’s a very intimate point of view from one single character in each. That’s the challenge. Anyone can film a beautiful landscape. Unless you have an emotionally grounded story in there, it’s all just fucking sorcery.”
While we’ve debated the merits of The Revenant‘s “emotionally grounded story, »
- Leonard Pearce
3 items from 2016
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