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Cantando dietro i paraventi (2003)
This film is enjoyable to watch.
It would be easy to criticize this film, it indeed has many faults. However, overall it is very well done, and plays on the screen enjoyably. I agree that it is strange to watch a host of Japanese actors and actresses (not Chinese) play the roles of Chinese and speak in dubbed Italian. but for some reason, the audience with whom I watched this film delighted in that aspect. If anything, I found the title to be obscure, unless it represents female hostesses serving male clients with food and beverage, and maybe themselves, while their clients watch a stage play from behind screens. A film about a stage play featuring female Chinese pirates is most unusual, yet it goes down easily on the screen. Don't let other critics dissuade you from seeing this film.
One of the best films on relationships in years.
Katja is the quintessential "not available" female. She's barely available on the job, almost not available to her lover Hendrik, and certainly not available at all to her abject father. She flies thru life, we don't get to see her achieve anything, but she sure is busy. Hendrik is the classic intellectual "no load", taking up space on the planet, using the planets resources of air, water and food, but producing nothing, not even writing. He does provide a compliant and supportive base for Katja, who is the sole breadwinner. Saida is elusive to us. She starts out without makeup, with drab clothing, etc and appears to be consistent with her status of illegal immigrant doing menial tasks. However, as her relationship with Hendrik unfolds, she grows in appearance, ultimately we see her as a heartbreakingly beautiful, vulnerable, and utterly desirable female. We NEVER get to deduce her motives nor all of her emotions, she remains an alluring mystery to us. There is a twist ending, one that to me is representative of real life, and I won't reveal that to you, better see the film. It's worth it.
Story not very plausible, hand held camera work sloppy
This could have been a very good film, but it wasn't. Although the plot wasn't very plausible, it was complex, fairly original, and provided suspense. The scenes of urban Manila/Cavite, the abject poverty, the sense of seeing life as it really is for the masses in the urban Philippines, made the film a proponent of sorts for the poor and unprivileged, this was powerful. However, virtually everything of value in this film was obviated by very, very sloppy hand-held camera work. The hand held cameras, while ostensibly adding to the authenticity of the film, were operated so sloppily that viewers experienced discomfort or outright nausea. This was absolutely unnecessary and significantly detracted from both the plot and the quality of the film. Many viewers exited the theater in the early minutes of the film.