The Knot (China | Taiwan) 2006

Chen Xiushui is an English teacher in Taiwan. The boy he tutors has a sister, Wang Biyun. They fall in love. But he’s a leftist and leaves Taiwan to fight for a new China. They make a pledge to see each other one day. On the mainland Chen Xiushui is active in the Korean War as a doctor and a soldier and later in rebuilding the country, working in Tibet. He changes his name to Xu Xiuyun. A woman by the name Wang Jindi, also a soldier, falls in love with him, but he is still thinking of Wang Biyun. In the meantime, Wang Biyun, still in Taiwan, is waiting for her love to return.

We follow the story in retrospective as Wang Biyun, now an old woman living in New York, sends her adopted daughter to find out what exactly happened to Chen Xiushui some 60 years ago.

Cast: Kun Chen, Chen Qiushui, Steven Cheung, Han Chin, Athena Chu, Ah Lei Gua, Vivian Hsu, Isabella Leong, Bingbing Li, Wang Jindi, Kuei-Mei Yang
Directed: Li Yin
Genre: Drama/Romance
Runtime: 117 min
Also Known As: Yun shui yao
Country: China, Taiwan
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English

Samurai Wolf (Japan) (1966)

This is the story of a vagrant samurai – the solitary, savage and scrupulous Kiba – who arrives at a village to defend a beautiful, blind woman against a sinister plot. Her assailants then send against him another samurai, named Sana, who is without scruples. The fight between them will become personal, for the honor and love of the blind woman.

Cast: Isao Natsuyagi, Junko Miyazono, Ryohei Uchida
Directed: Hideo Gosha
Genre: Action
Runtime: 1:10:42
Also Known As: Kiba okaminosuke
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English/French

The Gingko Bed/The Legend of Gingko (Korean) 1996/2000

The story revolves around Su-Hyun, a 32 year-old college art lecturer, and his lover Sun-Young. Su-Hyun has a wonderful life until he comes across an antique gingko wood bed. Little does he realize that the love he experienced in his former life lives in the bed. Su-Hyun is the reincarnation of Jung-Mun who was a court musician to the Princess Mi-Dan. Their love affair ends in tragedy when General Hwang kidnaps Mi-Dan and kills Jung-Mun. From this tragic event arises a pair of gingko trees housing the souls of Mi-Dan and Jung-Mun…

For many generations, Hwasan tribe is at war with the Mae tribe, which now has to live in exile in a non-exploitable and deadly region. To end this exile the Mae tribe is working on a revenge plan. They are making a holy sword, made from the blood and bones of a thousand sacrifices, which will destroy the Mt. Holy. But to complete this destructive weapon the Mae need a last sacrifice. The child of a couple formed of a royal family of both clans. Soo, the women leader of the Mae, and Han, the chief of the Hwasan give birth to a daughter named Vee. Several years later, Vee is now a woman and has been fully integrated in her new community. But the Mae tribe is planning to capture Vee for their ritual…

Cast: Suk-kyu Han, Hee-kyung Jin, Sun-kyung Kim, Beom-su Lee/Seok-hun Kim, Kyung-gu Sol, Jin-shil Choi, Yunjin Kim
Directed: Je-gyu Kang/Je-hyeon Park
Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Action
Runtime: 88/115 minutes
Also Known As: Eunhaengnamoo chimdae/Danjeogbiyeonsu
Country: Korea
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English/German

Lover’s Concerto (Korea) (2002)

One day, Ji-hwan begins to receive letters from an unidentified person. The letters, containing black-and-white photos of happy children playing, remind Ji-hwan of his old two friends. Five years earlier, while Ji-hwan is taking pictures with his camera, two girls, Soo-in and Gyung-hee, walk into the frame. Ji-hwan falls in love with Soo-in at first sight. He then musters up enough courage to confess his love to her, but she refuses him very politely. Even so, Ji-hwan doesn’t give up and tells them that he wants to be friends the next time they meet. Ever since then, the three of them start a wonderful friendship. They spend time each other always, and consider it the most precious moments of their lives. But they become confused between love and friendship and, finally, Gyung-hee and Soo-in leave him without a trace. The random letters inspire Ji-hwan to depart anxiously on a long journey to find his old friends, but while looking for Soo-in and Gyung-hee, he confronts a beautiful yet sad secret.

Cast: Tae-hyun Cha, Ye-jin Son, Eun-ju Lee, Yong-woo Park
Directed: Han Lee
Genre: Romance/Drama
Runtime: 106 minutes
Also Known As: Yeonae soseol, Friends and Lovers
Country: Korea
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English

Someone Behind You (Korea) (2007)

Ga-in, a smart, pretty girl who is loved by everyone, witnesses the deaths of people around her. She is then singled out as the next in line to die from the curse that has one person in each generation die at the hands of two people close to them. Ga-in searched for the truth about the curse with Suk-min, a boy who always lingers around her, and her boyfriend Heon-joong, but attacks on her life by those dearest to her, like her best friend and her mother, never cease…

Cast: Yun Jin-Seo, Park Gi-Woong, Lee Ki-Woo
Directed: Oh Gi-Hwan
Genre: Horror
Runtime: 84 minutes
Also Known As: It’s Two People, Doo Sa-lam-i-da or Du Saram-yida
Country: Korea
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English

Perfect Blue (Japan) (1998)

Viewer discretion advised!

A retired pop singer turned actress’s sense of reality is shaken when she is stalked by an obsessed fan and seemingly a ghost of her past.

Perfect Blue is a 1997 feature-length anime film, directed by Satoshi Kon (loosely based on the novel of the same name by Yoshikazu Takeuchi). The film is a psychological thriller about Mima Kirigoe, a member of a Japanese pop idol group called “CHAM!” who decides to become an actress. As her new career proceeds Mima’s world becomes increasingly reminiscent of the works of Alfred Hitchcock and Philip K. Dick; reality and fantasy spiral out of control as Mima discovers that a stalker is the least of her troubles.

Cast: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji, Masaaki Ôkura
Directed: Satoshi Kon
Genre: Horror/Thriller/Anime
Runtime: 83 minutes
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English