Tag Archives: Chungking Express

Best of New Generation Chinese Cinema (10+1list)

Best of New Generation Chinese Cinema.

written by Souranath Banerjee

In a broader sense, Chinese Film Industry includes films made in the mainland China as well as the Cinema of Hong Kong and Taiwan, and they are primarily in two different dialects – Mandarin and Cantonese.

In the year 1905, the Peking opera-themed The Battle of Dingjunshan was the first Chinese film ever made.

Since then, over the years, in spite of several political interferences such as the Japanese invasion, periods of Communist Party propaganda and the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Film Industry has managed to flourish and create it’s own place globally.

Many Chinese films including Infernal Affairs (directed by Wai-Keung Lau and Alan Mak) and Eat Drink Man Woman (directed by Ang Lee) are successfully remade in the west as The Departed and Tortilla Soup respectively.

And today, China has evolved as one of the biggest movie market in the world!

So, let’s celebrate some of the finest films from the most talented New-Gen Chinese directors who beautifully portray the history of their nation and are also directly responsible for the recent global success of Chinese Cinema.

Let the show begin.

10. In the Heat of the Sun (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeWN-SWLLbE

in-the-heat-of-the-sun-posterDuring Cultural Revolution in Beijing there was absolute freedom for the younger generation.

Directed by Wen Jiang, this is the brutal story of a young boy who along with his teenage friends grew up recklessly in the 60s, a turbulent time for China and her people. 

The film successfully preserves the mood and feel of that era, the boy’s emotions, infatuations and bravery.

Other famous films by the same director Devils on the Doorstep (2000) and Let the Bullets Fly (2010)

9. A City of Sadness (1989)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caU7X7LV-5E

city-of-sadness-posterDirected by Hsiao-Hsien Hou, this one is probably the most underrated and yet one of the best historical films made in China.

The film depicts the traumatic history of Taiwan through the lives of four brothers who struggle to coup with the ever changing political scenario around them. Brilliant acting and superb storytelling.

Other famous films by the same director The Assassin (2015) and Three Times (2005)

8. Mountain Patrol (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9hCEsOSQiA

mountain-patrol-posterThe vast mountains of tibet, the home of the wild and elegant antelopes, the land of peace.

And when their land is threatened by hunters who illegally slaughtered the endangered Tibetan Antelopes, the local villagers form a team – The Tibetan Mountain Patrol to fight with the poachers. 

Directed by Chuan Lu, this beautiful film is a must watch.

Other famous films by the same director City of Life and Death (2009).

7. Red Cliff (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd0bqLQrtdE

red-cliff-posterChina’s Three Kingdoms period (220-280 A.D.), the final days of the Han Dynasty and the time when the biggest battle in Chinese History was fought – the battle of Red Cliff.  

Directed by John Woo, this is the first part of that epic battle, the second one being Red Cliff II (2009).

Best historical war film from China.

Other famous films by the same director The Killer (1989) and Hard Boiled (1992).

6. Lust, Caution (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0o3yNnbCR4

lust-caution-poster1A dangerous and cautious plan of seduction is being executed by a young woman to entrap an influential politician.

Set in Japanese-ruled Shanghai during World War II era, the game of lust is being played between Tony Chiu Wai Leung and Wei Tang, the two superb actors. 

A fine piece of cinema by none other than ace director Ang Lee.

Other famous films by the same director The Wedding Banquet (1993) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).

5. To Live (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAZUbjttUPc

to-live-posterFrom the 40’s to the 70’s, through the turbulent and uncertain times in China, a family desperately struggles ‘to live’.

Even though they lost their personal fortunes and are caught up in the war, the family is determined to survive.

Directed by Yimou Zhang, a bag of mixed emotions and a complete package of Chinese history.

Other famous films by the same director Raise the Red Lantern (1991) and Hero (2002).

4. Yi Yi (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F6tSorwYqw

yi-yi-posterThe film tells the story of a family living in Taipei, an ordinary family with simple day to day emotions like love, fear, disappointment, anxieties and joy.

Directed by Edward Yang, the little emotional tales of each of these family members makes you unconsciously become a part of them. A powerful film of great simplicity.

Other famous films by the same director A Brighter Summer Day (1991) and That Day, on the Beach (1983).

3. Comrades: Almost a Love Story (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVyeMkUy9KI

comrades-almost-a-love-story-posterA boy meets a girl and even if they didn’t want to, they fall for each other.

How many films have been made on the above storyline but yet when director Peter Chan made this film, it became one of the most intriguing love story!

Set in Hong kong and New York, this one is one of the best romantic film ever made. 

Other famous films by the same director Dragon (2011) and The Warlords (2007).

2. A Touch of Sin (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUJt_kf7uKQ

touch-of-sin-poster1Director Zhangke Jia has been the best thing that happened to China in the recent years and this film is one of his best work till date.

Four stories, connected with the act of violence in them!

The film is a statement on China’s present social and political scenario, a chilling take on the country’s oppression and corruption, a story of revolt and despair.

Other famous films by the same director are The World (2004) and Pick Pocket (1997).

1. In the Mood for Love (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnFjSHQFVkA

in-the-mood-for-love-posterThe direction of Kar Wai Wong, the powerful acting by Tony Chiu Wai LeungMaggie Cheung, the brilliant cinematography by Christopher Doyle, the melancholic and soulful music of Michael Galasso and Shigeru Umebayashi – all in one package and it doesn’t get better than this!

A film that is the ultimate take on love and separation, a visual masterpiece, an experience.

Other famous films by the same director Chungking Express (1994) and 2046 (2004).

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most profound and unique one. A must watch).

+1. Farewell My Concubine (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC-_SLiRnJE

farewell-my-concubine-posterTwo men who were apprentices in the Peking Opera (Beijing), two performers,stage brothers, and their two parallel yet intertwined stories!

A film of extraordinary beauty and masterful acting, the story of two who remain friends for life.

Directed by Kaige Chen, the film is a visual treat, elaborate costumes and exotic locations and historical accurate story telling.

Other famous films by the same director The Emperor and the Assassin (1998) and Yellow Earth (1984).

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.listal.com, www.freecodesource.comwww.cinemagora.co.ukchinesemov.com.

JIO MAMI – DAY4 AND 5 (special attraction Christopher Doyle)

JIO MAMI – DAY4 AND 5.

written by Souranath Banerjee

JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival, 200 films from over 35 countries – it’s happening right now, right here and it’s a heaven for film lovers.

A brief description of the cinemas i have watched on the fourth and fifth day of the happening festival and also some exclusive snaps from the brilliant interactive sessions with film makers.

Day 4 (2nd NOV)

The first film of the day was relatively light hearted film, Umrika (2015).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APUyXR_WBIg

umrika-posterSure Sharma (from Life of Pi)Tony Revolori (from The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Prateik – all gave decent performances.

Directed by Prashant Nair, this film is a sarcastic take on Indians who have a general tendency to settle in Umrika (America of course). 

A boy from a small Indian village goes to Umrika and the film is an aftermath of what happened to his family, specially about his younger brother’s struggle to find out the truth behind his brother’s journey.

The second one was Cartel Land (2015), a documentary on ‘El Doctor’, a physician who united common people and fought against the drug mafia.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkYBbBK0qoM

cartel-land-posterMexico and drugs has a long tragic history that needs a resolution. But neither the police nor the military does anything to help.

Directed by Matthew Heinemann, the doc-drama tells the intense story of how the local people formed their own army (under Dr. Jose Mireles’s leadership) and fought against the drug cartels.

Scenes of brutal violence shown to portray the actual terrible situation through which the people of Mexico suffer. A hard hitting and very realistic documentary indeed.

And then there was Anomalisa (2015), a rare gem of a film.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_1qk6kRw28

Won several awards in many international festivals including the Grand Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival.

anomalisa-posterDirected by Duke Johnson and the genius Charlie Kaufman, a film that speaks so much about human emotions and that too in such subtle manner.

Stop-motion animation is used to it’s maximum limits and the film is also such a visual treat.

So brilliantly soulful and thoughtful and kind of melancholic in it’s own comic way – undoubtedly one of the best movie in this year’s Mumbai Film Festival.

And the day ended with another stroke of brilliance, called the The Lobster (2015).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR_NcqD-Gfs

Already won the jury award and nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival!

lobster-posterThe film tells us of the dystopian future where single people are officially taken to The Hotel, where they have to find a romantic partner within forty-five days or else they are transformed into their favorite choice of beasts!

Colin FarrellBen WhishawJohn C. ReillyLéa Seydoux and Rachel Weisz at their very best.

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, a film so rich in dark humor and sarcasm, it’s about human tendencies and speaks volume about our basic human nature. But all that wrapped in comedy.  

Day 5 (3rd NOV)

My fifth day started with a sensitive Bengali film, known as Peace Haven (2014).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DB33EVnQmQ

Peace-Haven-PosterDirected by Suman Ghosh, the film is about three elderly men in their 70s (who are good friends too) planning to build a mortuary for themselves. And in the process of searching for a place they seem to understand the meanings of life and death.

Soumitra ChatterjeeParan Banerjee and Arun Mukherjee all at their very best. A film that is entertaining as well as though provoking.

Next in the line was a unique documentary Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled Preoccupied Preposterous (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO1Fodr71HA

hong-kong-trilogy-posterDirected by legendary cinematographer/filmmaker Christopher Doyle.

It’s the director’s take on his favorite city Hong Kong told by three generations of people – the ‘preschooled’ children, ‘preoccupied’ young people, and ‘preposterous’ senior citizens!

A cinematic way of showing the ideas and opinions of people who collectively become the voice of a city. A film that makes a strong statement indeed.

And then, the best part of the day, the interactive session with Christopher Doyle himself!

A genius with such inspiring words and brilliant mind. The man who Doyle and Me_lowresshot films like HeroIn the Mood for Love, and Chungking Express, the person who created poetry through his visuals – none other than the humorous and humble Christopher Doyle.

He narrated his experiences with different directors (including Kar Wai Wong and M. Night Shyamalan), who among them have influenced him and pushed him harder to create magic with his camera.

I am honored and thrilled to shake hands and interact with such a living legend. Respect!

And finally the last film of the day, The Second Mother (2015).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXtkQitLmss

second-mother-posterClass barriers become visible when there is a new arrival of a person in the house, specially if that person is the young attractive girl of the house-keeper.

Directed by hong-kong-trilogy-posterAnna Muylaert, a simple theme, perfect script and exceptional acting. 

A film that comments on lot of social prejudices but in a subtle and intelligent manner.

Regina Casé is one actress who deserves many awards for her performance. 

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comblogs.indiewire.comtube.hk

Best Use of Intelligent Editing in Recent Films (10+1list)

Best use of intelligent Editing in recent films.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Film editing is often referred to as the ‘invisible art’ because when a film is seamlessly edited, the viewer can hardly be aware of the editor’s work.

But as we all know an editor has the ultimate control to make or break a film. ‘A film gets made on the editing table’.

Earlier times film editing was considered to be only a part of the ‘post production’ process but the true art of editing is best utilized when many of the cuts are preplanned while shooting the film itself.

Many films display multiple quick cuts (fast cutting) while others jump time or space with skillfully matching cuts (match cuts); then some films have elaborate parallel edit sequences while in some movies the editors use a variety of transitions to set the desired mood.

And now, here is a list of some of the best use of intelligent Editing in recent films – best examples of both linear and nonlinear editing styles.

So, let the fun begin.

1. Upstream Color (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U9KmAlrEXU

upstream-color-poster

A film by writer/director/actor and also cinematographer/editor and also music composer Shane Carruth.

Overall a complex but superb movie but the best part of it is it’s flawless editing.

Every shot is cut so precisely that the whole film looks like some kind of a detailed choreography of beautiful images dancing across the screen!

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE-f1alkq9I

eternal-sunshine-poster

Again a complex film with a superb storyline (the visible touch of Charlie Kaufman) and absolutely brilliant editing.

Directed by Michel Gondry and edited by Valdís Óskarsdóttir, the film narrative repeatedly goes back and forth and it all makes sense (or the times when it does’t!) simply because of the powerful editing style. 

Also worth checking out The Science of Sleep (2006) by the same director.

3. City of God (2002)

Original title: Cidade de Deus. Language: Brazilian Portuguese.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcUOO4Itgmw

city-of-god-poster

Based on a true story, the film is directed by Fernando Meirelles and edited by Daniel Rezende (both nominated for the Oscars).

The opening sequence of this film is often considered as the best edited sequence ever – the one where the mob chases the chicken through the crowded streets of Rio de Janeiro.

Also worth checking out The Constant Gardener (2005) by the same director.

4. Any Given Sunday (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN7sKvaHDlA

any-given-sunday-poster

Director Oliver Stone who won Oscars for Platoon (1986) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989) also made films which have a very unique editing style.

This film along with Natural Born Killers (1994) and U Turn (1997) – they are fast and edgy, each and every cut is synced with rapid camera movements and yet very much visually appealing!

5. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzk-lmU4KZ4

requiem-for-a-dream-poster

Darren Aronofsky‘s most creative film and a masterpiece in editing.

Edited by Jay Rabinowitz, the quick cuts of the closeup of an eye showing the effects of drug and the disturbing parallel edit sequence towards the end of the film are legendary in the world of artistic editing. 

This film proves that deft editing can actually establish the mental state of a person.

6. Fallen Angels (1995)

Original title: Do lok tin si. Language: Cantonese.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZda7nWftQI

Fallen-angels-poster

Famous for Chungking Express (1994), Happy Together (1997) and In the Mood for Love (2000), this film is one of the lesser known works of master director Kar Wai Wong but probably the best example of his incredible sense of editing.

Edited by William Chang and Ming Lam Wong, the film is a hypnotic journey of images cut to perfection.

7. Children of Men (2006)

 Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VT2apoX90o

children-of-men-poster

Nominated for the Oscars in the best editing category this film is a must in any editing list ever made.

Edited by director/editor Alfonso Cuarón and also by Alex Rodríguez, the tension and the intensity of this futuristic thriller is much more enhanced by competent editing techniques which are almost too perfect to notice individually.

One of the most gripping suspense thriller ever seen.

8. Hot Fuzz (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayTnvVpj9t4

hot-fuzz-poster

Now this film uses a completely different aesthetics of editing but nevertheless very effective and often intentionally comic!

A comedy directed by Edgar Wright and edited by Chris Dickens is a film that contains the best example of time compression by swift editing (specially during the journey sequences).  

If you liked Shaun of the Dead (2004) you would love this too.

9. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

Original title: Le scaphandre et le papillon. Language: French

Film clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G69Zh7YIg8c

diving-bell-and-the-butterfly-poster

Directed by Julian Schnabel (won best director at Cannes Film Festival), this one is an inspiring yet difficult story to tell. 

And according to me, the film’s success largely depends on it’s brilliant editing techniques.

Edited by Juliette Welfling, who was nominated for the Oscars in the Best Editing Category, this is one film you shouldn’t miss.  

10. The Tree of Life (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXRYA1dxP_0

tree-of-life-poster

The brilliance of Terrence Malick is probably most evident in this film and yet the first thing that one notices is the seamless editing!

A series of vignettes held together, the camera moves and the images cut so effortlessly that some times one forgets that they are actually watching a film.

In spite of winning the Palme d’Or the film is often criticized for not having a distinctive storyline.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique and cool one. A must watch).

+1. Spun (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrWD1kVi0ME

spun-posterAn out of the world editing experience, as fast and quirky as the mental state of a drug addict.

This film is definitely to be seen without any parental guidance because of it’s disturbing imagery and freaky concept.

Edited by Johan Söderberg and director/editor Jonas Åkerlund, editing skill at a different level altogether.