Monday, February 28, 2011

Special Screening

Special Screening
See bellow for details

This Thursday (March 3) the Asian Film Series will be temporarily suspending to support a screening of Once Upon A Time in China (1991) presented by the UWM Chinese program.

The screening will be at 7 PM at Curtin 219. The screening is free and open.

Once Upon A Time in China is director Tsui Hark’s reworking of the long running Wong Fei Huang film series starring Kwan Tak Hing as the Chinese doctor and Confucian scholar. Beyond this the film works as a complex allegory for the approaching 1997 handover of Hong Kong back to Chinese rule. It helped, along with another film of Tsui’s Swordsman (1990), to reinvigorate the martial art action film creating something of a wave in the early 1990's before dying out mid decade. Today it stands as one of the great classics of Hong Kong cinema.

Hong Kong, Director Tsui Hark, Cast Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Yuen Biao, Kent Cheng Juk-Si, Jacky Cheung Hok-Yau, Yang Yee-Kwan, Jimmy Wang Yu and Wu Ma , 134 minutes

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Monkey Goes West (1966)

The Monkey Goes West (1966)

February 24th, 7:00PM in Garland 104 (2441 E. Hartford)

The Monkey Goes West is an adaptation of the classic 16th century novel A Journey To the West, which is generally regarded as one of the four great classics of Chinese literature. It is based upon the 7th century journey of Xuanzang, a Buddhist monk who illegally traveled from China to India in order to bring back early Buddhist texts. This accomplishment was instrumental in reversing the anti Buddhist stance of the then ruling Tang Dynasty.
In this fictionalized account of the journey, human involvement is largely curtailed in favor of a wide range of magical beings. It seems that the flesh of the monk will grant great power to whatever creature eats it. To protect the monk, his phantasmal allies capture the Monkey King, a mischievous being possessing great power. Later others join the group and together they journey through one danger after the other.
This particular adaptation of the story was created by the Shaw Brothers studio, which dominated Hong Kong film production of the era. It recounts early events in the novel, including the capture of the Monkey King. It was latter follower by two sequels, Cave of the Silken Web (1967) The Land of Many Perfumes (1968) based around other major events in the novel. In tone they are primarily children’s films, although the outlandish sets and costumes make it appealing to those of any age.
Hong Kong, Director Hoh Mung Wa, Cast Diana Chang Chung-Wen, Ho Fan, Yueh Hua, Paang Paang and Fan Mei Sheng, 111 minutes, in Mandarin with English subtitles

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Discarnates (1988)

The Discarnates (1988)

February 17th, 7:00PM in Garland 104 (2441 E. Hartford)

Japan, Director Nobuhiko Obayashi, Cast Morio Kazama, Kumiko Akiyoshi, Tsurutaro Kataoka and Toshiyuki Nagashima, 108 minutes, in Japanese with English subtitles.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chaos At The Graveyard (2003)

Chaos At The Graveyard (2003)

February 10th, 7:00PM in Garland 104 (2441 E. Hartford)

While critically acclaimed films from dynamic, growing national cinemas such as Thailand are now seen on a world stage, there is another type of film which remains nearly invisible. This second type is the average film, or even the flop. But it could be argued that such films can open up a window into a society in ways that an acclaimed film might be self consciously above. Chaos At The Graveyard is one such film.

The story revolves around developers who want to build a housing development in a rural area containing an old graveyard. Plans to relocate the graves run afoul of the ghosts who exist there. But the film really transcends any kind of plot with its inept acting, jumpy editing, unconvincing FX and uncertain sensibilities. On the face of it, the story is a horror comedy, but the content is so strange and uneven that it might just as well have been a failed melodrama. But just as Plan 9 From Outer Space (1958) maintains a resonance in American cinema, Chaos at the Graveyard is for better or worse, a kind of window into Thai culture.
Thailand, Director Jarun Wongsatja, Cast Kanchai Komnerdploy, Onhatal Suesrisawad and Chatchadaporn Thananta, 119 minutes, in Thai with English subtitles.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Windstruck (2004)

Windstruck (2004)

February 3rd, 7:00PM in Garland 104 (2441 E. Hartford)

For most of the 2000's, the Romantic Comedy has been king of the South Korean box office. Out of all such films, the two that are reasonably well known in the United States are 2001's My Sassy Girl and Windstruck (2004.) Like the majority of Korean romantic comedies, both apologetically feature heavy melodrama that in these instances seems to work wonders.
My Sassy Girl is also further connected to Windstruck in that it shares the same director and lead actress. There are also subtle references between some of the characters worked into the film, making Windstruck something of a loose prequel. The basic story revolves around the mismatched relationship between a diminutive teacher and colorful police woman as both carefree and tragic events guide their relationship.
South Korea, Director Kwak Jae-Young, Cast Jun Ji-Hyun, Jang Hyuk, Kim Su-Ro, Lee Ki-Woo and Kim Chang-Wan , 123 minutes, in Korean with English subtitles