03 June 2007

Contrasts in Asian Cinema

This weekend I've been watching two DVDs from the Tartan Asia label, which could not have been more different from each other.

First I watched "Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter,... and Spring", a Korean story of a Buddhist monk and his young apprentice. I had never heard of this film before, and was attracted to it by its title, which almost sounded like a haiku, and by the stunning scenery in the photograph on the cover. The film was every bit as beatiful and serene as its cover. The action all takes place around a tiny monastery floating on a calm lake, surrounded by mountains. There is very little dialogue in the film, letting the pictures speak for themselves, so I think it would be a good film for people who haven't watched a lot of foreign language cinema.

At the completely opposite end of the spectrum was the all-singing, all-dancing zombie horror family comedy "The Happiness of the Katakuris". This was the craziest, weirdest, most indescribable film I have ever seen! I like films that are a bit out of the ordinary, and this film certainly could not be described as ordinary. I loved all the characters, and the song and dance routines were just crazy! In a strange way some elements of the film somehow reminded me of my favourite film "Amelie", although this was a very different film. I think this is the sort of film that people either love or hate.

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