9 items from 2015
The way a film starts and the way it ends can tell a lot about a movie, as well as the particular style of the director behind the project. Numerous films throughout history have had memorable opening and closing shots that have elevated the feature in question, while also taking on a life of their own as iconic moments in cinema.
Following his first exploration of first and final frames in film, vimeo user Jacob T. Swinney has revisited the topic in a new video, looking at 70 new films and how their opening and closing mirror each other. Swinney had this to say in the episode description.
After numerous requests, I finally decided to create a sequel to “First and Final Frames”. Part II plays the opening and closing shots of 70 films side-by-side. Like the first video, some of the opening shots are strikingly similar to the final shots, while »
- Deepayan Sengupta
Not long ago, it was far easier to predict which foreign-language films wouldn’t feature in the Oscar race than it is today. Year after year, titles that had racked up festival awards and critical plaudits could handily be discounted even after they’d passed the hurdle of being submitted by their country: if they were too thematically abrasive or too formally avant-garde, they weren’t getting a look-in.
The Academy had a particular comfort zone in the best foreign language film category, one that was largely unaccommodating to iconoclastic auteur works: so it is that Dogme 95 milestone “The Celebration” and Romanian New Wave flag-bearer “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” failed even to crack the shortlist in their respective years. Even those that got nominated often fell to less consequential entertainments: “Black and White in Color” over “Seven Beauties,” or “Mediterraneo” over “Raise the Red Lantern.”
Yet things change. As imperfect »
- Guy Lodge
Hong Kong has selected sports action drama “To The Fore” as its contender for the foreign-language Academy Awards race.
The section was made by the selection committee of the Hong Kong Film Producers’ Association. The organisation said that it had also shortlisted Ringo Lam’s “Wild City”, Mabel Cheung’s Three Cities” and Lau Ho-leung’s “Two Thumbs Up.”
Despite the territory’s major role in Asian and global film history no Hong Kong film has ever won in the foreign-language category. Wearing the Hong Kong banner, two films by mainland Chinese directors — Zhang Yimou’s “Raise The Red Lantern” and Chen Kaige’s “Farewell My Concubine” — received Oscar nominations. More recently Won Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster” made it to the January shortlist, but was not subsequently nominated. »
- Patrick Frater
Once upon a time, the filmmaker Zhang Yimou and his then-muse Gong Li collaborated on some of the most momentous works of new Chinese cinema. The films they made were diverse. They included lush, ruthless period dramas like Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern, as well as a neo-neorealist tale of bureaucracy gone haywire, The Story of Qiu Ju. Though ostensibly apolitical, these films nevertheless painted vivid portraits of a society where the status quo — whether it consisted of the traditionalist mores of the past, or the state machinery of the present — was forever stifling. (Their masterful 1994 collaboration To Live actually got Zhang banned from filmmaking for two years by China’s state censors.) The pair — also romantically linked for a while — eventually went their separate ways, though both continued to grow in stature. Zhang became a state-approved filmmaker of (admittedly still pretty great) historical epics like Hero and The House of Flying Daggers, »
- Bilge Ebiri
Things Not Forgotten: Zhimou Returns to Period Tragedy with Middling Results
Chinese auteur Zhang Yimou, known recently for elaborate adventure films like House of Flying Daggers (2004) or Hero (2002) returns to the graceful vein of his earlier character driven classics, like 1991’s Raise the Red Lantern with Coming Home. Based on a novel by Yan Geling, who penned the source material for his last film, the 2011 WWII drama The Flowers of War, starring Christian Bale, theFifth Generation filmmaker isn’t able to attain the same sense of masterful melodrama here, with a scenario that’s sometimes emotionally potent but never quite convincing. Using this particular bout of misery to cast criticism on the aggressively untoward policies of the country’s troubled past, even these political underpinnings seem underutilized with this conservatively administered tale of familial woe.
In early 1970s China, the Cultural Revolution has begun to fade, but perhaps not quickly enough. »
- Nicholas Bell
American romantic dramas could take a lesson or two from foreign films. A new trailer for Zhang Yimou’s (House of Flying Daggers, Raise the Red Lantern) latest film was released by Sony Pictures Classics. Here’s the synopsis:
Lu Yanshi (Chen Daoming) and Feng Wanyu (Gong Li) are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner, just as his wife is injured in an accident. Released during the last days of the Cultural Revolution, he finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife has amnesia and remembers little of her past. Unable to recognize Lu, she patiently waits for her husband’s return. A stranger alone in the heart of his broken family, Lu Yanshi determines to resurrect their past together and reawaken his wife’s memory.
Lu Yanshi (Chen Daoming) and Feng Wanyu (Gong Li) are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner, just as his wife is injured in an accident. Released during the last days of the Cultural Revolution, he finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife has amnesia and remembers little of her past. Unable to recognize Lu, she patiently waits for her husband’s return.
A stranger alone in the heart of his broken family, Lu Yanshi determines to resurrect their past
together and reawaken his wife’s memory
The film was an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival 2014 and the Toronto International Film Festival 2014.
One of the most important and influential filmmakers in China, »
- Michelle McCue
Sony Pictures Classics has unveiled the new trailer for Coming Home, the historical romance from director Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero). Based on the novel by Geling Yan, Coming Home centers on a married couple, Lu Yanshi (Chen Daoming) and Feng Wanyu (Gong Li), who are separated when the former is sent to a labor […]
The post ‘Coming Home’ Trailer: Zhang Yimou Serves Up an Historical Romance appeared first on /Film. »
- Angie Han
Enduring emotional ordeals that sometimes seem as grueling as the Long March, the teenage protags in the mainland Chinese youth meller “The Left Ear” lose everything — parents, lovers, money, virginity, and even their hearing. Thanks to the vitality of a daisy-fresh cast and the sensitive touch of Taiwanese idol-turned-helmer Alec Su (“The Message,” “Sweet Alibis”), they survive a florid plot to emerge as full-fledged characters. Brimming with sincerity and less trashy than many of its counterparts, the pic opened at home with a resounding $8 million-plus and has gone on to earn more than $65.2 million in 10 days; it could well speak to young auds in other Chinese-language territories.
“The Left Ear” reps the first screen adaptation of a trilogy by Rao Xueman, the mainland maven of youth literature credited with popularizing a genre that dwells on damaged psyches and the acute pain of growing up. This is nothing new to readers of Japanese shojo manga, »
- Maggie Lee
9 items from 2015
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