Archive for January, 2005|Monthly archive page

Thesis (1996)

In Film on January 25, 2005 at 9:22 pm


We’re on a Spanish film binge recently :P. Thesis is a very entertaining mystery thriller from director Alejandro Almenábar, who’s known for directing + writing the brilliant Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) (original version of Vanilla Sky) and The Others. Thesis was his break-out first film.

The story: film student Angela (Ana Torrent, all grown up since Secret of the Beehive) was doing her thesis on ‘violence in media.’ Her professor died of heart attack one afternoon when reviewing a mysteroius video, which Angela found to be a ‘snuff film’ that depicts horrible torture and murder of a fellow female student who has disappeared years ago. Who made the video? Who was the executioner in mask? Why was it in the school archive? As Angela investigated she found herself attracted to this handsome student Bosco, who seems highly suspicious. Meanwhile, her geeky violent film collector friend, Chema, seems to have dark secrets of his own as well. Other suspect include the new professor and Bosco’s psychotic girlfriend. Overwhelmed by clues and puzzles that kept spinning around, she didn’t know who to trust (as both guys seems to be fallen for her) and found herself to be the subject of the next snuff film as she fell into the hand of the true villain…

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Bad Education (2004)

In Film on January 24, 2005 at 7:58 pm


I really enjoy Pedro Almodóvar latest film Bad Education! I went into the theatre without knowledge of the plot, since the trailer is so short and ambiguous so I didn’t know what to expect other than a colorful Almodóvar treat. Turns out it’s a top-notched, carefully crafted Film Noir + Hitchcockian thriller (with tranny & homosexual themes). Unlike the many of his stories about women, this time it’s all male~ The first half introduces the reunion of two childhood friends who attend a Catholic boarding school back in the Franco 70s. Now in the early 80s, Enrique was an up-and-coming filmmaker, while the other, Ignacio, was a desperate actor who wrote a screenplay based on their childhood school experience. He hoped Enrique would film it and cast him as the lead.

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The Nomi Song (2005)

In Film on January 15, 2005 at 7:19 pm


The Nomi Song is a documentary about the bizzare German-born singer Klaus Nomi, a cult figure in the New York New Wave underground movement in the late 70s/early 80s. I’ve only heard of Klaus Nomi and seen his album covers but never actually heard his music prior the film. Klaus Nomi was a classical trained tenor who sings pop songs in classical Opera style (^^;;) with a striking on-stage persona (an alien/robot in the signature triangular tux top + German expressionism-ish black & white makeup) and bizzare theatrical performances. After much struggle to reach a wider audience, his first taste of international success in 1983 would also be his end. He became one of the first artists to die of AIDS.

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Amarcord (1973)

In Film on January 6, 2005 at 7:56 am


Fellini‘s whimsical recollection of his youth in a little sea-side town during the days of Italy’s Fascism in 30s. There’s not much of a story, just different episodic accounts of the colorful town folks’ simple lives and their fantasies. Their lives are weaved by ritualistic highlights: the flower that blew all over town indicating the end of winter, bonfire party to welcome spring, boat-greeting to passing-by giant ship, the Fascist Parade, etc. Fellini got a flamboyant style that’s just so beautiful like poetry, and this film is not that bizarre nor pretentious (by his standard ^^;;). The camera works and scenery are just pure pleasure to look at. The first thing I noticed are the soundtrack by Nino Rota, I LOVE the theme music. The music got a festive parade sound that sound very fitting.

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Troll ~A Love Story~

In Novel on January 6, 2005 at 2:59 am

troll-thumb.jpgTroll ~A Love Story~ (2000)
Johanna Sinisalo

Originally titled ‘Ennen päivänlaskua ei voi‘ (translated as ‘Not Before Sundown’) in Finnish, it finally got translated and released here four years later. It won the highest Finnish literature award Finlandia. The story set place in contemporary world with a slight alternate history twist: mythical creature troll‘s existence has been scientifically proven and identified as real but extremely rare species since early 1900s. The legends of troll are originally found in Norse Mythology and Scandinavian folklores. I’ve read stories about Finnish trolls before: the Moominvalley by Tove Jansson ^^;;! In this book trolls are not that cuddly at all, they are 2 meters tall demonic cat+ape-like creatures who hide out in forest and caves.

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The Bloody Countess

In History on January 1, 2005 at 3:28 am

The Bloody Countess: The Atrocities of Erzsébet Báthory
Author: Valentine Penrose
Release Date: Sep 2000
Publisher: Creation Books
Pages: 189

Erzsébet Báthory, the beautiful 17th century Hungarian Countess who tortured and killed more than 600 girls and bathed in their blood, was not as widely known as the infamous Vlad the Impaler (immortalized as Dracula by Bram Stroker), nevertheless she was a popular gothic icon in horror stories (especially in Japan!? ^^;;). I’ve read dozen of Erzsébet Báthory-inspired characters in girly horror manga when I was young. Horrible but fascinating figure…

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