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Sunday, July 31, 2005
Reviewing a bunch of movies

With the large extensive collection of movies at the King County Library, we're beginning to watch movies that we would've never seen either via buying them, or via Netflix.

A fortnight ago, i viewed a series of Iranian movies, and the one that Sharon and i both enjoyed totally is "The Wind Will Carry Us" (Bad ma ra khahad bord) by Abbas Kiarostami, which was about a filmmaker who comes to a small village where an old woman is dying, hoping to document a harsh ritual of mourning practiced by the villagers.

The delibrate pacing of the movie, and the simplicity of the plot, the cultural exploration of rural Iran, all made for a great movie. The most hilarious part of the movie was the fact that the filmmaker had to drive up a hill to get good reception to his cell phone calls. And we complain when we dont get full 5 bars of reception!

We also watched another of his movie, Close-up, about the true story of a man who leads a prosperous family to believe that he is one of Iran's most revered film directors, and tells them that he wants to use them and their house in his next film. The fact that the actors in the movie are the family members, the directors, and that man made this a movie within a movie within a documentary. Great!

From Iran, we jumped to Japanese movies. The first one we saw was an unexpected hilarious movie called Kikujiro. The movie prodded along from a plot with a child that wants to seek his long-lost mother, and a former yakuza (gang) member escorting him along the way. There's a fairy-tale like feeling to it, with a constant reminder of the angel bells. The former yakuza's anti-social behaviour, more like straight bullying, made for funny situations. The ending came too quicky.

Yesterday, on a hot hot final summer day, after a day full of events, Sharon and I sat down to watch Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru (きる), or Living. Though the movie was made in 1952, the story is an accurate look into life.

The main character worked in a city council for over 30 years, and was tied down to its bureaucracy. A simple request by city folks for a children park got the typical push-around, from engineering to health to parks to administration to public affairs. I can easily relate that to Singapore as well as to the support teams here. A typical "no-under-my-area" syndrome, then and now.

Not going to disclose too much, but this show is too real for comfort. Upon realising death is pending, finding true meaning of his work, trying to (re)build a relationship with his son, acting against the flow of ignorance and incompetence.

After his death, a colleague was almost touched to do the same too. However, his sitting down emphasized the main character's efforts, and that those people didnt learn from his situation. At the end, we're left to reflect on our life - its meaning and its hope.

Wow... what a great show that is. I cant get it out of my mind at this moment, what Kurosawa has to say: to live is to love; the rest is just cancer.
posted by Jonathan at 11:42 PM | Permalink |