22 de dez de 2005

Art: Andy Goldsworthy

I´m fascinated by this artist: Andy Goldsworthy, a sculptor/photographer of the nature. It´s hard to explain the impact of his work, you have to see it to feel the power and the beauty, it´s like to surprise a garden inside a natural landscape. You can read a good assay about the artist in http://d-sites.net/english/goldsworthy.htm,
and google him to apreciate the photographs of his works.

20 de dez de 2005

22 de nov de 2005

Asian Cinema (DVD)

Green Tea”

1.The Returner (DVD/ Japan/2002) ***
Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Actors: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Anne Suzuki, Goro Kishitani

2.After Life “Wandafuru Raifu” (DVD/ Japan/ 1998/ 118 min) ***
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Actors: Takashi Mochizuki, Shiori Satonaka

3.Dolls (DVD/ Japan/ 2002/ 115 min) ****
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Actors: Miho Kanno, Hidetoshi Nishijima

4.Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... ***
(Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom)
(DVD/ South Korea/ 2003)
Director:Ki-duk Kim
Actors: Yeong-su Oh, Youg-min Kim, Yeo-jin Ha

 5.Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War***
(DVD/ South Korea/ 2004/ 140 min)
Director: Je-gyu Kang
Actors: Dong-kun Jang, Bin Won

6.Ong-bak (DVD/ Thailand/ 2003) **
Director: Prachya Pinkaew
Actors: Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao

17 de nov de 2005

Books: Cinema

My Library

Dictionnaire du Cinéma/Les Réalisateurs
by Jean Tulard

Le Cinéma Selon François Truffaut
col. by Anne Gillain

Dictionnaire des Films
by Georges Sadoul

Les Films-Clés du Cinema
by Claude Beylie

12 de nov de 2005

Stephen Chow Sing-chi (bio)

Stephen Chow Sing-chi

Born in Hong Kong in June 22, 1962 and grew up in Shanghai.

A big fan of martial arts, specially of star Bruce Lee, while was in school took three months of Wing Chun classes with the Master Wong Shun-leung, one of Lee's martial brothers. Though Chow's formal martial arts training was brief, he has ably integrated martial arts action into many of his comic film roles, for which he is best known.

In 1983 he graduated from acting school and was hired as host of a children's television program entitled Space Shuttle 430. After that he worked his way into dramatic TV roles; they led to his first movie part, in the 1988 film Final Justice, for which he won the Best Supporting Actor honor at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards. After that, Chow has builted his carrer as Asia's top comedy star.

Beginnig with the success of All For the Winner in 1990, to starring roles in two sequels to God of Gamblers. Established an important trend in Hong Kong's comedy films culture known as “Mou Lei Tau”.

Parodies would become popular in Chow´s films, like Fist of Fury 1991 , Justice My Foot (1992, Best Actor of Asia Pacific Film Festival), Beijing with Love (1994), All's Well, Ends Well (1997). We have the period films King of Beggars and A Chinese Odissey Part 1 and 2 (as the chinese literary hero, the Monkey King).

Chow started working behind the camera with From Beijing with Love. After that came The God of Cookery (1996), as writer, producer, director and star.

The start of international sucess came with Shaolin Soccer (2001), when he mixed kung fu action with soccer. His last production, Kung Fu Hustle (2004) was a big hit, winning the best film prize at the 24th Hong Kong Film Awards.

11 de nov de 2005

Don´t Make a Drama!

1. Zhou Yu´s Train (Zhou Yu de huo che)

(DVD/ China/ 2002/ 96 min)
Director: Zhou Sun
Actors: Gong Li, Tony Leung Ka-Fai,
Honglei Sun

2. In The Mood For Love
(DVD/ Hong Kong/ 2000/ 98 min)
Director: Wong Kar-Wai
Actors: Tony Leug Chiu-Wai, Maggie Cheung

3. Purple Butterfly (Zi hudie)
(DVD/ China/ 2003/ 127 min)
Director: Lou Ye
Actors: Zhang Ziyi, Liu Ye, Toru Nakamura, Feng Yuanzheng

4. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Xiao cai feng)

(DVD/ China/2002/ 110 min)
Director: Sijie Dai
Actors: Liu Ye, Xun Zhou, Kun Chen

5. 20, 30, 40 (DVD/ Taiwan/ 2004/ 112 min)
Director: Sylvia Chang
Actors: Sylvia Chang, Rene Liu, Lee Sinje
This film is a little pearl, made to hit the heart of every women in their 20´s, 30´s or 40´s. It´s not just about the life of some taiwanese women, but human feelings of any modern girl this days. The guys can see this flick with compliance, but the girls will see themselves like in a mirror.

6. Chunhyang (VHS/ South Korea/ 2000/ 120 min.)

Director: Kwon-taek Im
Actors: Hyo-jeong Lee, Seung-woo Cho
"Like the sun and the moon, my love will never change."

9 de nov de 2005

Book: The Moonstone

My Library

“One of the wildest of the Palace of Seringapatam related to a Yellow Diamond – a famous gem in the nativa annals of India. The earliest Known traditions describe the stone as having been set in the forehead of the four-handed Indian god who typifies the Moon. Partly from its peculiar colour, partly from a superstition whitch represented it as feeling the influence of the deity whom it adorned, and growing and lessening in lustre with the waxing and waning of the moon, it first gained the name by whitch it continues to be known in India to this day – the name of THE MOONSTONE”.

The Moonstone, a large, beautiful yet fated diamond, was stolen from an Indian shrine. It is given to Rachel Verinder on her eighteenth birthday and, that same night, stolen again. Sergeant Cuff is employed by Rachel´s mother to find the precious stone and has no shortage of suspects. By turns, those on the periphery and at the heart of the mistery tell their version of the events until all is unravelled at the unexpected conclusion.
(A classic detective novel by Wilkie Collins (1871)/ Penguin Books).

Art: Wang Hui

Wang Hui (Chinese, 1632-1717), 1672,
National Palace Museum, Taipei.

7 de nov de 2005

Infernal Affairs Movie OST

Infernal Affairs Original Soundtrack
Track: “Wu Jian Dao”
(duet by Andy Lau and Tony Leung)

2 de nov de 2005

In The Mood For Love OST

Music Notes

In The Mood for Love Original Movie Soundtrack
Track: “Yumeji’s Theme
by Shigeru Umebayashi

31 de out de 2005

DVD: HK/ China

“Archaeologic Artefacts”
1. Shanghai Triad (DVD/ China/ 1996/ 107 min)
Director: Zhang Yimou
Actors: Gong Li, Li Baotian, Xiaoxiao Wang

2. The Emperor and the Assassin (VHS/ China/1998)
Director: Chen Kaige
Actors: Gong Li, Li Xuejian, Zhang Fengyi

3. Gourgeus (VHS/ Hong Kong/1999/95 min)
Director: Vincent Kok
Actors: Jackie Chan, Tony Leug Chiu-Wai, Shu Qi, Richie Ren

4. Police Story (DVD/ Hong Kong/ 1985/ 96 min)
Director: Jackie Chan
Actors: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Brigitte Lin
The gifted policeman Kevin Chan (Jackie Chan) puts behind the bars the biggest drug dealer in town. Then he has to protect the major witness of the case, the gangster ´s secretary (Lin). When the girl disappears and the bad guy goes free, Chan has the personal challenge of bringing her back, facing all alone the gangsters. The picture images have grown old, but the amazing stunt work and the fightings still make this action movie a great fun.

5. Hard Boiled (VHS/ Hong Kong/ 1994)
Director: John Woo
Actors: Chow Yun-Fat, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Anthony Wong)

6. Fist of Legend (VHS/ China/ 1994)
Director: Gordon Chan Car-Seung
Action: Yuen Woo-Ping
Actors: Jet Li, Chin Siu-Ho, Ada Choi Siu-Fun, Nakayma Shinobu

7. Hard Boiled (VHS/ Hong Kong/ 1994/ 126 min)
Director: John Woo

Actors: Chow Yun-Fat, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Anthony Wong, Teresa Mo)

 Tequila (Yun-Fat) is a cop frustrated with his carrer, who would gladly change over from the revolver to a saxophone, from the police stationt to a smoky jazz bar (his nickname says all!). This way, he seems to be always running against the clock, performing the missions with a suicidal courage, and what for? To get rid of all vilains and finally dedicate his life to the music and his estranged girlfriend? Alan (Leung) is a killer working to the guns contraband mafia in Hong Kong and also has the desire of an early retirement. He seems sometimes reluctant executing the assasssination job, but is quite brilliant doing it. When Tequila and Alan finally have the paths crossed there´s a mutual recognition of souls. With a ironic difference revealed in Alan´s touching confession:” All I wanted was to be a normal cop”. The fine construction of the characters contrasts with the bloodshed that we´re submitted during the picture. Even so, Chow Yun-Fat holding a baby in his arms and shooting a gun in the middle of fire and explosions is moving, the way just John Woo could make it. Classic!

28 de out de 2005

Welcome to Tea House and Cinema

We´re living privileged times, with so many great films coming to our theaters. Just this year we saw Zhang Yimou´s “Hero” and “House of the Flying Daggers”, and Stephen Chow´s “Kung Fu Hustle”.

Hopefully we´ll close the year with the beautiful “2046”, Wong Kar-Wai´s new tale of love and pain.

On DVD I can name some good candy too. The release of old stuff, the new films that never made the ocidental screens, and even the archaeologic findings in VHS (those are precious!).

Well, we´ll review all of them, so stay connected! I´m listing some of the films I saw this year, with selected links. I count with your suggestions of other titles, or just comments on the list.

“Hero” (Ying xiong) China, 2002, 99´
director: Zhang Yimou
writing: Zhang Yimou, Feng Li, Bin Wang
actors: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Donnie Yen, Zhang Ziyi.

The director Zhang Yimou already gifted us with great films, full of solid drama and scenes that will keep forever in our minds (like “Farewell My Concubine”). By other hand, chinese cinema has the unique capacity of combining adventure, action and drama. Ang Lee´s “Crounting Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is the perfect example, and clearly inspired this new fase of Yimou carrer. In spite of never have worked directing action films, “Hero” discloses the director´s talent also in this genre. “Hero” tells us, through a legend, the history of the unificacion of China, about 2000 years ago. And who´s the “hero” of the story? The Nameless swordman (Jet Li), that defeats the rebels? Or the same rebels – Broken Sword (Tony Leung), Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung) e Sky (Donnie Yen)? Or maybe the true hero is the King of Qin (Daomin Chen), for having the boldness of building the great country of China? It´s all open to interpretation, but what really matters in this film are the fight scenes, a very elegant and elaborated coreography. Even if you´re not a fan of martial arts, you´ll be delighted. And the landscapes are truly amazing. Exotic deserts, fantasy forests, highly colored by the hand of the fotographer Christopher Doyle, a brilliant work. Finally, it was a beaultiful experience into the legend plus marcial arts genre. And it seems that Zhang Yimou realy enjoyed the play since he directed afterwards the also amazing “House of Flying Daggers”. Can´t miss it!

“House of Flying Daggers” (Shi mian mai fu) China, 2004, 119´
director: Zhang Yimou
writing: Zhang Yimou, Feng Li, Bin Wang
actors: Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Zhang Ziyi, Takeshi Kaneshiro
music: Shigeru Umebayashi

This is the second incursion of the director in the martial arts plus epic drama genre, and Zhang Yimou is more experienced and mature. And the challenge is bigger this time. More action, more breath taking landscapes and much more drama. Or I should say, more romance. The story is set when China is a great unified country, but the people still dislikes some governants. This established, enter two policemen (Andy Lau e Takeshi Kaneshiro) that are charged with the arresting of a beautiful young rebel (Zhang Ziyi) hidded at a brothel. They´re surprised to find out the girl is blind, and also a brilliant swordwoman. The tenent Jin (Kaneshiro) has the mission of faking the rescue of the blind girl, to pretend sympathy for the rebel cause, this way being able to discover the hiding-place of the state foes. During this journey, naturaly, the couple falls in love with each other.
So many scenes in this film are memorable, like the raid through the bambual (a scene that can´t miss in a martial arts classic movie) and the final duel at the snow field. Delicate and moving performances, inspired music, in short, another pearl of the director Zhang Yimou.

“Kung Fu Hustle” (Gong Fu) Hong Kong, 2004, 95´
director: Stephen Chow Sing-Chi
actors: Stephen Chow, Chi Chung Lam, Wah Yuen, Qui Yuen, Hsiao Liang

Para mim, o melhor filme do ano, ainda mais que tive o prazer de vê-lo no dia do meu aniversário. Mas deixando de lado razões emocionais, Gong Fu é um filme divertido como a muito não se via, ao menos nas telas ocidentais. E nem dá para comparar com os filmes anteriores de Stephen Chow, que nunca chegaram às telas do Brasil. O que aliás é surpreendente, já que o sucesso anterior do diretor (Shaolin Soccer) combina o kung fu com o futebol, paixão nacional brasileira. Por que esse filme não chegou ao país? Pergunte às distribuidoras de cinema, escravas comerciais do cinema norte-americano. Mas vamos ao aqui e agora. Esse é um filme que surpreende em muitos aspectos, a começar pela direção segura e ao mesmo tempo criativa do Sr. Chow. Outro ponto positivo são os CGI, os efeitos especiais, presentes em grande parte do filme, mas sempre bem pensados e elaborados com grande sofisticação. A estória: nos anos confusos da china pré-revolucionária, gangues sanguinárias aterrorizam as zonas urbanas. Uma dupla de jovens sem-teto (Chow e Chi Chung Lam) sonha em fazer parte da famosa Gangue do Machado. Passando-se por membros da dita gangue, eles ensaiam uma tentativa de extorsão num condomínio pobre, sugestivamente chamado de “Beco do Chiqueiro” (“Pig Sty Alley”). Só que os azarados heróis se vêem diante de um grupo de moradores que lembra muito os daquela pequena aldeia gaulesa, que nunca se rendeu ao império romano, lembra? E quando a sinistra Gangue do Machado entra na festa... é um espetáculo de artes marcias pra fã nenhum botar defeito.

“Breaking News” (Dai si gein) Hong Kong, 2004, 90´
director: Johnny To
writing: Chan Hing-Kai, Tin-Shing Yip
actors: Richie Ren, Nick Cheung, Kelly Chen

Mais um excelente filme made in Hong Kong que não chega às nossas telas, enquanto somos obrigados a ver Robert De Niro estrelando mais uma comédia familiar (que saudades de Taxi Driver e Os Bons Companheiros). Felizmente chegou em DVD e assim pude conferir o talento do diretor Jonnie To. O filme se passa, em boa parte, dentro de um grande cenário, um prédio de apartamentos num bairro de classe média-baixa da agitada cidade de Hong Kong. Uma experiente quadrilha de assaltantes é perseguida por uma força policial de investigadores, que já estava em sua cola por algum tempo. O grupo de ladrões se refugia no interior do prédio, um grande labirinto de corredores e apartamentos apertados. Nesse ambiente claustrofóbico, mas enquadrado com grande agilidade por Jonnie To, os moradores se vêem presos no fogo cruzado entre os bandidos e a polícia. O ator Richie Ren está ótimo no papel de ladrão charmoso e ultra cool.
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