Oct 19

July 32nd (2010) Uncut aka 7월 32일

Directed by Jin Seung Hyun, the curiously titled indie drama July 32nd is inspired by the short story “Full Moon” by acclaimed writer Ko Un. Screened at the 2008 Fukuoka Film Festival and the 2008 Shanghai Film Festival, the film depicts the tumultuous relationship of a killer and his daughter, whose lives are upturned on July 31, 1987. Pursued by the police, he leaves his five-year-old daughter in someone else’s care, promising to pick her up the next day. But the next day never comes because he soon gets arrested. Years later, the abandoned daughter has grown up, and the waiting has turned into the longing for revenge.

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Oct 19

Hellhole: Inmate 611 (2007) aka Joshû 611: onna-tachi no yakata

It’s called the House of Evils, where beasts in human flesh prowl the corridors and the most dangerous residents aren’t the luscious inmates, but the predatory guards. For the crime of assaulting her lover, Saya Mizushima has been sentenced to three years in the most brutal prison facility in Japan. It wasn’t supposed to be a life sentence, but unless the woman now known as Inmate 611 can learn how to hold her own against both the ruthlessness of her fellow inmates and the brutal harassment of the guards, she’s got little chance of walking out with both mind and body intact. Stripped, shackled, but not yet broken, an international chain gang of red hot models and actresses lead by Akira Kiuchi, Harumi Nemoto, Youko Kamon, Yoshimi Asada and Kei Mizutani prepare to march into the flames of the damned in HELLHOLE: INMATE 611!

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Oct 18

Strawberry Shortcakes (2006) aka Sutoroberii Shooto Keikusu

Based on the eponymous manga for girls by cartoonist Kiriko Nananan, the pic follows the ups and downs of four female friends in Tokyo looking for love and trying to cope with the responsibilities in their lives. The main characters, impeccably played by four powerful actresses, are modern, self-sufficient women and their stories are told with mild irony and a dash of melancholy. The result is a movie that is lighthearted at times, a little sad at others, crazy and sometimes serious, but always special, that investigates the psychology of its characters and offers an accurate depiction of urban Japan, thanks to its director’s know-how. While many overly ambitious directors struggle to tell even one fairly comprehensible story, Yazaki skillfully weaves a powerful depiction of not one, but four women, creating an indissoluble and moving whole that doesn’t succumb to sentimentalism.

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Oct 17

The Street Car Named Desire (1993) aka Ri luo ka men

Nip Chi Wah had just been released from prison, he went to Shunzhen to help Ling smuggling to Hong Kong. In Shunzhen, he was seduced by a mysterious girl Amy. Amy left suddenly, but Nip could not forget this fatal attraction. Ling and Nip had different characters, however, when Nip helped Ling to treat her wound, they could not avoid the body temptation, finally they made love. Ling thus fell deeply for Nip, but Nip treated this as an one night stand. Carbon noticed that Nip neglected Ling, one the other hand, Nip wasted a lot of effort to find Amy. Carbon showed sympathy to Ling and try to get close to her. Nip found Amy at last. In fact, Amy was the mistress of Brother Chow, who was in jail and would be released soon. Amy was rebellious and fond of playing love games, so she tempted Nip to chase her. Nip could not resist her attraction, he tried every means to court her with no fear of the threat from Chow’s gang. Ling left Nip with a broken heart……

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Oct 16

The Wicked Reporter (1993) aka Gokudô kisha

More than his indie debut Skinless Night, this was the film that launched Mochizuki on his distinctive trajectory through the crime and yakuza genres. Matsuzaki is a racing tipster for a sports paper, a lowlife who spends half his time drunk, hangs out with yakuza and other riff-raff and complicates his sex life by succumbing to advances from his girlfriend’s sister. As played by Okuda, he’s also a figure of considerable hangdog charm. Less a plot-based movie than a guide to the several forms of high stakes gambling in Japan, this centres on his attempt to help a friend swindled in a bent mahjong game.

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Oct 13

No Guilty (1992) aka Nan er wu fei

Someone is killing and raping young women. Glamour photographer Chan Ga Ming is wrongly accused and his cop friend, Jack, tries to find the real culprit. But Jack is hindered by the actions of his brutal boss, Inspector Lee, who is determined to charge Chan, by fair means or foul. Chan’s personal life is already in a mess. He is still working with ex-girlfriend Mary, who wants him to dump fiancee Pearl and come back to her. The accusation causes Pearl to break off the engagement. One of the murders is witnessed by Pau, who aspires to model for Chan. The real murderer is a horrid, smiling villain who wears loud red jackets, and whose father is a wheelchair-bound gangster, who is friendly with Inspector Lee. Most of the story concerns the efforts of Jack to clear Chan’s name, with the help of Pearl and Pau.

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