Reviews written by registered user
dchozenwan

6 reviews in total 
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Lesson in Film History, 8 April 2006
8/10

This work of Yoji Yamada shows the transition of eiga from the silents to the talkies (shades of "Singin' in the Rain").

Watching this proved to be a lesson in film history. I learned that eiga during the late '20s to early '30s was patterned after the Hollywood studio system.

Being under American control during those years, Philippine movies also have the same characteristic. (Unfortunately, most of those were destroyed during the Second World War, or deteriorated due to neglect).

"Kinema no Tenchi" shows movie history in an eclectic montage. Chaplinesque-Marxian humor can be noted. The rise of the actress to fame was depicted in a melodramatic fashion, a popular genre then and now.

I recommend this movie to any cineaste.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
The Yellow Handkerchief of Hope, 8 April 2006
8/10

I watched the movie, and the plot is similar to the song. However, the "ribbons" were replaced with "handkerchiefs". A post was used in lieu of an oak tree.

Away from these similarities, I found the movie entertaining. The movie is a ballad of hope and friendship.

The ensemble performance is a perfect mix. Ken Takakura's stoicism versus Tetsuya Takeda's humor is balanced by Kaori Momoi's character.

The movie offers a lot of symbolisms. Their journey is same to life. The destination is uncertain. There might be ups and downs (vividly depicted by the good cinematography showing the different places in Hokkaido).

The handkerchief is a metaphor of a person's aspirations. There may be hindrances that discourage him or her to pursue it. Thankfully, there are friends and loved ones who cheer us up to go on.

A yellow handkerchief is a clear sunny day we are looking forward to every time we wake up. A movie like this deserved the recognition bestowed upon it.

The Crowd (1928)
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Timeless, 8 April 2006
8/10

I recently watched this silent movie and I was amazed by its timelessness.

People work everyday on an eight-hour job and has dreams to make it "BIG". In that way, he could stand out of "The Crowd". Eighty years later and people still go through the same routine. Any working person can symphatize with John Sims.

In my humble opinion, the movie is a precursor of the neo-realist movies produced in Europe during the post-World War II era. The movie, in a way, also prophesied the worse: The Great Depression. John Sims, who symbolizes the common man, found it difficult landing a stable job after he quit his previous one.

A great movie, I hope this one must be watched by the viewers of today.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Forgotten Filipino Fantasy Flick, 10 January 2006

I watched this movie last December 31 on free TV. Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang (Stories of Grandma Basyang) is inspired by the work of the famous Filipino writer Severino Reyes. This Sampaguita Picture production, is an anthology of two stories. My viewing of this movie led me to believe that even five decades ago, the fantasy genre is one of the mainstays of Filipino pop culture.

Dolphy, the Philippines' King of Comedy starred in "Si Pedrong Walang Takot" (Fearless Pedro).This is about a cowardly man named Pedro who gains courage by means of an enchanted bell that he used to scare away the kapre (a hairy giant).

The second one is " Ang Prinsesang Naging Pulubi" (The Princess Who Became a Beggar). A princess from a faraway land (portrayed by the glamorous Gloria Romero) rejected all of her high-profile suitors, believing that material riches cannot provide genuine happiness. Her act of constantly spurning her suitors provoked the ire of his father, the King. He decreed that she be given to the first beggar who finds his way to the royal garden. From this beggar (Juancho Gutierrez), she found true love.

Destiny (1921)
5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Serendipity Over Destiny, 25 August 2005
9/10

I used to associate Fritz Lang only with the great movies "Metropolis", "M", and "Dr. Mabuse". This mindset suddenly changed last night when I watched a screening of Destiny in Manila. (A screening sponsored by the Goethe Institute).

Before the screening I asked myself: How come I didn't hear of this movie before ? How does this compare with "Metropolis", "M", and "Dr. Mabuse" ? Upon watching the movie, I felt privileged I was given a chance to watch a movie so rare, yet at par with Lang's best works. I told myself, "I struck gold !!!" Destiny is a very vivid depiction of the power of love over death. I was astounded by the sheer imagery, and the poetic resonance.

The production design and effects are ahead of its time. I didn't realize that a very smooth "ghost effect" have been already achieved since 1921.

From the background of the village to the stranger's appearance, I was reminded of Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" (A movie on my wish list. My exposure to this movie is through still images I saw in a book on cinema.) I was amazed with the way they recreated Turkey, Venice, and China. It offered me a surrealistic experience, that some fantasy movies of today fail to do.

Following is a my short interpretation of this wonderful movie: A couple on their way to honeymoon is the prime of life. A "stranger" (Death), suddenly comes unexpected. Bernhard Goetzke impressively played the role. His aura exuded with a haunting eeriness that was etched on my mind.

The stranger in the village is the subject of endless discussion by the dignitaries. It just reflects the enigma of death itself.

The couple met the stranger. A few moments later, his man and the stranger disappeared. The woman was distraught over having her fiancée fetched by the stranger. Distraught on learning his abduction, she sought Death, and begged for her loved one. She was given three chances on three different locales, and she failed it all.

She was given one more chance: to find a person who is willing to give his life for her fiancée. She found an old man, a beggar, and a number of sick people. All of them has one reply: " Not one day, not one hour, not one breathe." It just showed me how important life is and the unyielding conviction to cling to it.

Out of her undying love for her fiancée, the film leads to the philosophical resolution that glued me to my seat after the screening. It pushed me to stop for a while and think about a few things.

0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Dichotomy in Man's Existence, 11 August 2005

One existence can be summed up as an array of conflicting forces. Name one, and you can think of good and bad,long and short, beautiful and ugly, ad infinitum. The list is endless.

The Kurosawa opus 'High and Low' provides a visual and psychological examination of a man's existence. The title itself pronounces this dichotomy.

Any person who watched the movie can find themselves in this eternal conflict.

The protagonist Gondo, impeccably portrayed by the legendary Toshiro Mifune, is hounded by these struggling forces.

High and Low mirrors the persona of each one of us. This is one reason I consider it one of Kurosawa's best.

I am just wondering why it is not included in the Top 250 list...