Review:「黒い四角」(Kuroi shikaku/The Black Square)

The Black Square
Alternative title (Chinese): 黒四角
Year: 2012
Country: China/Japan
Language: Mandarin, some Japanese
Director: Okuhara Hiroshi
Studio: Black Square Film
Screenplay: Okuhara Hiroshi
Cinematography: Maki Kenji
Soundscore: Sangatsu
Cast: Nakaizumi Hideo, Hong Dan, Xixu Chen, Suzuki Miki
Runtime: 144 min
Distribution: N/a
Film’s official website:  N/a
Special thanks to Raindance, which provided me with a preview screener of this film. Kuroi shikaku showed at the 21st Raindance Film Festival on September 28, 2013. I previously featured the film on Trailer Weekly #79/80.
When Japanese film director Okuhara Hiroshi travelled to Bejing in 2008 and visited the Song Zhuang Artist Village he spoke no Chinese. The place – the experience – seemed surreal to him, or, as he explained, “the whole atmosphere felt like science fiction, including the surroundings. I felt I could shoot a Tarkovsky-like movie in this place. […] That’s how it all began.” (quote) Continue reading “Review:「黒い四角」(Kuroi shikaku/The Black Square)”

LFF Review:《致我们终将逝去的青春》(Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchūn/To Our Youth That Is Fading Away aka So Young)

so young 5
Year: 2013
Language: Mandarin
Director: Vicki Zhao
Multiple involved, including China Film Group
Adaptation from:
2007 novel of the same title by Xin Yiwu
Screenplay: Li Qiang
Cinematography: Li Ran
Soundscore: Dou Peng
Cast: Mark Chao, Han Geng, Yang Zishan, Jiang Shuying
Runtime: 132 minutes
Distribution: China Film Group
Film’s official website: N/a
Seen at the 2013 London Film Festival at a screening with a director’s Q&A. Previously featured in Trailer Weekly #75.

In the opening scene of《致我们终将逝去的青春》(Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchūn/To Our Youth That Is Fading Away aka So Young) the heroine, Zheng Wei (Yang Zishan), finds herself in a lush fantasy world, populated by fairy tale creatures both good and bad, only to awaken and find it was all a terrible dream. No more than a few minutes long, this opening reveals much of what is wrong with Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchū, for as luxuriantly beautiful that dream world is – the scene must have cost a good chunk of the film’s 30 million yuan (US$5 million) budget – it is also completely irrelevant, for nothing that happens is of any importance for the story that follows. Continue reading “LFF Review:《致我们终将逝去的青春》(Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchūn/To Our Youth That Is Fading Away aka So Young)”

Review: 《饮食男女2》 (Yǐnshí nánnǚ2/Joyful Reunion)

joyful reunion 2Year: 2012
Language: Mandarin
Director: Tsao Jui-yuan
Screenplay: Chen Shih-chieh, Hsu Wei-ching, Zhou Yanzi, Hsu Li-Kong
Cinematography: Chin Ting-chang
Cast: Kenneth Tsang, Grace Kuei, Huo Siyan, Blue Lan, Jiang Mengjie.
Runtime: 107 min
Distribution: Tang Moon International
Film’s official website: N/a

Subtitled DVD and Bluray (All Region) are available via
Nearly twenty years ago there was Ang Lee’s 《饮食男女》 (Yǐnshí nánnǚ/Eat Drink Man Woman, Taiwan, 1994). It was one of those films that everyone watched (it was both a box office and a critical success) and that also travelled well – even people who don’t generally watch Asian cinema will often have seen it. Continue reading “Review: 《饮食男女2》 (Yǐnshí nánnǚ2/Joyful Reunion)”