Hongkong Filmart

Am now back from the Hong Kong Film Market. I was looking forward to it for months and now it is over. And the Hong Kong International Film Festival is still happening…. Sigh… How I wish I am still there watching movies and mingling with people who genuinely love movies.

The biggest talk of town in the market is of course the censorship issues with China following the issue with LUST, CAUTION and LOST IN BEIJING. I have watched both of these movies of course, and I don’t see what the problem is, despite Tony Leung exposing his nuts for all to see and the very real sex scenes while Fan Bing Bing bares her top and got herself involved in a few sex scenes. But these are really nothing (compared to, say, 9 SONGS or LIES or BATTLE IN HEAVEN etc.) Well, as we always say, when in Rome….

On the first day of the Filmart, there was a conference on Co-Production models in Asia and one of the panelist said that they have no problems with China’s censors. His argument is that they can make commercial movies and make money and entertains people and they do not need to challenge the authorities to make movies. In fact, he said, the people demand entertaining movies and not movies that challenges the establishment/status quo etc. Needless to say, this guy is from Hollywood. He has no idea that movies is not just a medium to entertain, it is also a powerful medium where people can be challenged intellectually and emotionally, and as such make themselves a better human being, a more enlightened person who is aware of the world he/she lives in, within and without. Of course, he is entitled to his position and is entitled to keep on making money and running to the bank, buying big cars and big bungalows and private jets etc.

Met so many stars and directors, I became numb to them. Of course meeting Yoji Yamada was great but nothing really beats seeing Shu Qi. She is just absolutely gorgeous! Much more so in real life! (Plus I don’t think she is a bad actress as many would immediately say ;-)) Also met Gigi Leung whom I have wanted to meet for a long time but meeting her real life is sort of disappointing. She is so fake and looked so worn down.

Some of the movies that I have watched over the few days:

KABEI

A tad over-drawn and a tad over-dramatic at the end but still is a damn good movie. There have been so many World War II movies that I have seen but this one is well told, is humorous and at the same time sad and the director’s grip is so firm, frame by frame. It is like watching TWENTY FOUR EYES but this time zoomed into the micro life of a family living through the war. My rating for this movie is 8.5/10

MONGOL

I have known the story of Genghis Khan and watching this movie, the story is not of prime importance to me as I find myself anticipating when that particular event happens in the movie. I was looking for how well the movie is made production wise, acting wise. How well the story is told and put together. And it didn’t disappoint. Despite quite a few continuity flaws, the movie is well made in general and the battle scenes looked believable although the final battle scene is quite an anti-climax. In this recent days, we are so spoilt with good battle scenes, nothing could really surprise us (say WARLORDS and ASSEMBLY, for example). My rating for this movie is 8/10.

PARIS

This “little” film is part of the film market screening which I didn’t plan to watch at first but the distributor (Studio Canal) insisted that I should go and watch it after we talked about movies and the smart-ass me began to talk about French movies (you see, most buyers do not really know movies and do not really love movies. They are in it primarily as business people, not movie lovers). I looked at the cast line-up and is pretty impressive, so what the hell, I sped up some meetings and pushed some backwards and made time for the screening. And I didn’t regret it. It is about the life of several people, each with their own set of issues to deal with. Sounds like nothing, which is true but it is all in the execution and the acting. Just very much heart warming. I rate this movie 7/10.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN COREA

A Korean commercial film about the Japanese’s exploit in Korea during World War II where they look for a huge diamond which is very valuable etc. Quite well made throughout and entertaining. Mass market stuff. I will rate this 5/10.

THE MAN WHO WAS SUPERMAN

Another Korean commercial movie about a man who thought he is superman. So he went around helping people, talked about global warming and all the social ills stuff. Of course, he is not superman and the movie took a dramatic turn at the end which tried to make the audience cry. All in all, a long drawn and quite a waste of film stock. I will rate this movie 3.5/10.

AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS

Was looking forward VERY much to watch this movie. Afterall, it was helmed by Ching Siu Tung who also made movies like SWORDSMAN II and A CHINESE GHOST STORY etc. But alas! How bad is that movie! Pure waste of film with bad actors who are not really acting, feeble plot and bad, bad music video. Ouch!! The battle scenes are the only thing that has something to talk about but then again, as I have said in MONGOL above, it is really nothing much. Kelly Chen actually wanted to look authoritative is really horrible. Brigette Lin just need to look at you and you will be scared to the knees. And when Kelly tried to be cute and adorable, she also sucks. Again, compare this to Brigette Lin in her romantic mood, the world melts….. sigh….. I will rate this movie 4.5/10.

BLIND MOUNTAIN

This Cannes Un Certain Regard movie is truly a gem. Movies should be like this. This is director Li Yang’s second movie after the equally moving BLIND SHAFT. BLIND MOUNTAIN is about sold-off bride which is quite a rampant practice in China. It tells the story of a girl who was cheated and sold off to a remote village far into the mountain and her struggles to stay alive and plans her escape. Bad luck befalls her again and again and you will have to watch the movie to see the ending. A truly magnificent movie. I will rate this movie 9/10.

SIVAJI

I didn’t know what the fuss was all about when this movie was released in the theaters and delayed watching it again and again. So I have finally watched it and my opinion of this movie is that I really liked it! You have your typical Indian movie with drama, romance, action and song and dance throughout but this movie is a well made blend of all those plus a critic of the Indian society of corruption. Having lived in India for a while, I can help but nod my head at how bad the corruption in India is. I will rate this movie 7.5/10.

Well. that’s about it this time. Maybe more later.

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