chikamatsu monogatari – the crucified lovers (Japanese) 1954

based on a centuries old tale with roots in real events, chikamatsu monogatari [a tale from chikamatsu aka the crucified lovers] tells the hauntingly tragic story of a forbidden love affair between a merchant’s wife, osan [kagawa kyôko], and her husband’s employee, Mohei [hasegawa kazuo], in an era when the punishment for adultery was crucifixion.

When a series of innocent events lead to the false accusation of an affair between osan and Mohei, the accused pair are forced to flee an almost certain death sentence. on the run, the outlaw couple grow closer together, drawn inexorably towards the romantic crime of which they are accused.

in the hands of mizoguchi, chikamatsu monogatari depicts two people caught up in a constricted world where true love and social obligation are at odds. His portrayal of the lovers’ dilemma lead famed director kurosawa akira to describe the film as ‘a great masterpiece that could only have been made by mizoguchi.

director • mizoguchi kenji
aka • 近松物語 aka chikamatsu monogatari
year • 1954
genre • drama
runtime • 1:42:00 [main] + 13:19 [interview]
country • japan
language • japanese [main] + english [interview]
subtitles • english [.srt] [main feature only]
imdb • chikamatsu monogatari
wiki • the crucified lovers
cast • hasegawa kazuo | kagawa kyôko | shindô eitarô

Adrift in Tokyo (TenTen) (Japanese) 2007

AKA: Adrift in Tokyo/Tenten
Year: 2007
Directed: Satoshi Miki (In the Pool, Turtle swim faster than expected)
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Runtime: 101 mins
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English
IMDB: TenTen
Cast: Jo Odagiri, Kyoko Koizumi, Eri Fuse, Kami Hiraiwa, Reona Hirota, Yoshizumi Ishihara, Mitsuko Ishii, Ryo Iwamatsu, Ittoku Kishibe, Tomokazu Miura, Takashi Sasano, Takashi Tsumura, Yurimo Yoshitaka

Synopsis / Plot

“To see Tokyo in all it’s wacky and scenic splendor, take a long walk with Tenten (a.k.a. Adrift in Tokyo). The latest from director Miki Satoshi (Insects Unlisted in the Encyclopedia ), Tenten is a brilliantly manic road comedy starring the unbeatable tag team of Odagiri Joe (Tokyo Tower – Mom & Me, and Sometimes Dad) and Miura Tomokazu (The Taste of Tea). Both actors are playing roles they could do in their sleep – prickly middle-ager and slacker student with unfortunate hair – and they bring the exact combination of calm calamity and charismatic craziness the film calls for. In the grand tradition of male bonding road movies, Tenten is just the aimless story of two strange guys walking around Tokyo for a few days and the stranger adventures they encounter – and yet, it’s so much more. Underachieving law student Takemura (Odagiri Joe) – on his eighth year and counting – has racked up quite a sizable debt in the name of higher education. The urgency of his financial situation announces itself in the form of hot-tempered debt collector Fukuhara (Miura Tomokazu), who comes bursting into his apartment one night demanding payment and threatening painful repercussions. Short of hitting it big on pachinko, Takemura has no idea how he can possibly pay back the sum. As the deadline closes in, Fukuhara makes Takemura an unexpected proposition: walk with him from Kichijoji (in western Tokyo) to Kasumigaseki (in central Tokyo), and he’ll pay the indebted student one million yen, enough to cover his debt. Bewildered but in no position to argue, Takemura hits the road with Fukuhara who, it turns out, just killed his wife and wants to turn himself in at a specific police station in Kasumigaseki. Getting there will take some time though, because many wacky people (including Koizumi Kyoko as a club madam) and surprise detours await them on the road in between.”

Ghost In-Law (Saphai breu… aw aw) (Thai) 2008

Nuan, a pretty nurse is engaged to Chai, a son from the wealthy Wongwuttiporn family which owns a huge mansion, which is eventually given to the young couple as a wedding gift. Meanwhile, Khun Ying, Chai’s mother, plots to take the mansion back for herself in order to trade it to someone to get money for her debts. In order to do so, she has to get rid of Nuan. Unexpectedly, Nuan is killed and comes back to the mansion as a vengeful ghost to haunt Khun Ying and the people who caused her death.

Genre: Comedy / Horror
Year: 2008
director: Thanit Jintanukul / Seri Pongnithi
Country: Thailand
Language: Thai
Subtitle: none

Lead Actors: Morakot Ammy Kittisara… Nuan, Noppon Pitak-lohpanitch… Chai
Supporting Actors: Noawarat Yuktanund… Chai’s mother, Yanee Tramoth… Chai’s father, Sutheemon Kanjanasakchai… Chai’s sister


Blood and Bones (Korean) 2004

In 1923, the Korean teenager Kim Shun-Pei moves from Cheju Island, in South Korea, to Osaka, in Japan. Along the years, he becomes a cruel, greedy and violent man and builds a factory of kamaboko, processed seafood products, in his poor Korean-Japanese community exploiting his employees. He makes fortune, abuses and destroys the lives of his wife and family, having many mistresses and children and showing no respect to anybody. Later he closes the factory, lending the money with high interests and becoming a loan shark. His hatred behavior remains until his last breath, alone in North Korea.

AKA:Chi To Hone
Directed:Yoichi Sai
Genre: Drama
Runtime 2hrs 24mins
Country:Korea / Japan
Language:Korean / Japanese
Subtitles: English

Takeshi Kitano
Hirofumi Arai
Tomoko Tabata
Jô Odagiri
Kyoka Suzuki
Yûko Nakamura

A Fighter’s Blues (Hong Kong) 2000

Andy Lau’s 100th film also happens to boast his finest onscreen performance. It’s a good movie, too.

Andy Lau turns in his finest performance in this entertaining drama about Tiger (Lau), a kickboxer who is released from prison and finds redemption. The film begins as he’s released from prison, but we’re introduced to his demons in flashback. When he was a young boxer, he fell for Thai filmmaker Pim (Indhira Jaroeupura of the film Nang Nak). She was his number one love, though he apparently forgot what drew her to him. She was drawn to his strength and his fighting nature. When she discovers that boxing is only a job to him, he loses her and something else happens that lands him in jail for 10+ years.

In the present he meets Sister Mikoto (Takako Tokiwa, in her second Hong Kong film), who has occasionally looked after Tiger’s wayward daughter Ploy (Apichaya Thanatthanapong). Though their reunion is difficult at first, they eventually find some semblance of a father-daughter relationship. Still, Tiger’s demons return to haunt him, and when we see exactly what they were, everything comes together in an appropriate and even haunting fashion.

County………Hong Kong
Language…….Cantonese/Mandarin (Dual Audio)
Subtitles……English .srt

Flash Point (Hong Kong) 2007


The Donnie Yen-Wilson Yip tag team return with the blistering actioner Flash Point. The actor-director combo previously made waves with SPL and Dragon Tiger Gate, reaching new levels of excitement with their depiction of onscreen martial arts mayhem. Flash Point is a return to SPL territory – at least character-wise. This prequel to SPL finds Yen’s Inspector Ma involved in a difficult case versus a trio of deadly Vietnamese bad guys. Inspector Ma’s partner Wilson (Louis Koo) poses as a member of the gang to keep tabs on the trio, leading to the arrest of Archer (Ray Lui of To Be Number One). However, Archer’s cohorts Tony (Collin Chou of The Matrix Reloaded) and Tiger (Xing Yu of Kung Fu Hustle) are still at large, and will stop at nothing to prevent Wilson and other witnesses from testifying. When they kidnap Wilson’s girlfriend (Fan Bing Bing) to blackmail him, only Inspector Ma is willing to come to his partner’s aid – and whoever stands in his way had better watch out!

In Flash Point, Donnie Yen utilizes Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) to portray Inspector Ma’s powerful fighting prowess. Yen pulls out a full arsenal of fighting techniques, from kung-fu to Muay Thai to jujitsu, especially during the film’s climactic mano-a-mano duel between Yen and Collin Chou, which should astound even the most jaded screen fighting fan. A duel between Yen and Xing Yu in street restaurant is also impressive, as are the flashes of stuntwork and gunplay from the action-ready cast. Louis Koo embodies his undercover cop character with appropriate pathos, and the cast is aided by the addition of award-winning actors, including Kent Cheng, Best Actor winner for The Log, and Helena Law Lan, Best Actress winner for Wilson Yip’s Bullets Over Summer. The Donnie Yen-Wilson Yip combo has proven so successful that the two are planning to work together at least two more times, including a forthcoming adaptation of the popular pulp character Dr. Wesley.

Directed: Wilson Yip (Dragon Tiger Gate, S.P.L.: Sha po lang)
Genre: Action
Also Known As: Dao huo xian
Country: Hong Kong
Subtitles: English / Chinese

Donnie Yen (Dragon Tiger Gate, S.P.L.: Sha po lang, Seven Swords, Hero, Blade II)
Collin Chou (Matrix Reloaded & Revolutions)
Louis Koo (Protégé, Happy Birthday, Election 1 & 2)