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East Asian Cinema

Empress Wu Zetian (Wu Zetian) (China, 1939)

Directed by Fang Peilin. Cast: Hong Bai, Lanjun Gu, Zhizhi Hang. Empress Wu rose to power after the decline of the Tang Dynasty (690 to 705 A.D.) and ruled at a time when women were still bound by tradition and a patriarchal social structure. This film traces her entry into the Imperial Palace as a favored concubine, her rise to power and her dalliances with her lovers, the Zhang brothers, who later conspired to remove her from the throne. 95 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Enter the Dragon (Hong Kong, USA, 1973)

Director, Robert Clouse. Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Ahna Capri, Shih Kien, Bob Wall, Angela Mao Ying, Betty Chung, Geoffrey Weeks, Yang Sze, Peter Archer, Jim Kelly. Lee goes to the island of a warlord of crime, Han, who carries on his opium smuggling and prostitution activities under the disguise of a martial arts academy.

Equinox Flower (Higanbana)(1958)

Director: Yasujiro Ozu. Cast: Shin Saburi, Kinuyo Tanaka, Ineko Arima, Keiji Sada, Teiji Takahashi, Miyuki Kuwano, Chishu Ryu, Chieko Naniwa, Fumio Watanabe, Nobuo Nakamura, Fujiko Yamamoto. In Ozu's first color film, a stubborn Japanese businessman, who disapproves of his daughter's fiance, must learn to embrace modern romance. 118 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
See also:Ozu bibliography

Ermo (Hong Kong, China, 1995)

Director, Chou Hsiao-wen (Xiaowen Zhou). Comedy about Ermo, a humble noodle-maker in a remote Chinese province who finds that money can't buy happiness - but it can get you very close. 95 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
Reviews and articles:

Every-night Dreams (Kimi to wakarete) (1933)

Director: Mikio Naruse. Cast: Kurishima Sumiko, Saito Tatsuo, Kojima Teruko. A dockside bar hostess must contend with the return of her long-gone layabout husband. 65 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Evil Brain from Outer Space(1964)

Directors: Koreyoshi Akasaka, Teruo Ishii, and others. Cast: Ken Utsui, Sachihiro Ohsawa, Junko Ikeuchi, Minako Yamada, Shoji Nakayama, Kan Hayashi, Minoru Takada, Utako Mitsuya. From a Japanese television series complete with corny costume, super strength, and the ability to fly from planet to planet, Starman clobbers the bad guys with a frenzied fighting style that looks like a cross between martial arts and a berserk ballet.

Face of Another (Tanin no kao) (Japan, 1966)

Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara. Cast: Tatsuya Nakadai, Machiko Kyo, Mikijiro Hira, Kyoko Kishida, Miki Irie, Eiji Okada, Minoru Chiaki, Hideo Kanze, Kunie Tanaka, Bibari Maeda, Etsuko Ichihara, Yoshie Minami. Okuyama, after being burned and disfigured in an industrial accident and estranged from his family and friends, agrees to his psychiatrist's radical experiment: a face transplant, created from the mold of a stranger. As Okuyama is thus further alienated from the world around him, he finds himself giving in to his darker temptations. 124 min.

Failan (Pailan) (2001)

Directed by Hae-sung Song. Failan emigrates to Korea seeking her relatives, but finds they have moved to Canada. Desperate to remain in Korea, she accepts an arranged marriage through a match-making agency. Her husband, whom she has never met, is an old gangster who has no respect from his peers. Things take a turn when he is asked by his boss to take the fall for a murder in exchange for some money. The only hope in his worthless life is the wife he has never met. 115 min.

Fallen Angels (To lo tien shih) (Hong Kong, 1995)

Directed by Wang Chia-wei (Wong Kar-Wai). Set in the underworld of present day Hong Kong, this film intertwines two tales of love and isolation. First there's the unconsummated love affair between a contract killer and the ravishing female agent who books his assignments. When the killer decides that he must move on, he leaves her with only a coin for the jukebox and instructions to play a song, "Wang ji ta" ("Forget him"). In the second drama ex-convict Ho makes a living by re-opening shops that have closed for the night and intimidating customers into buying goods and services from him.

Family Game (Kasoku gemu) (1983)

Director: Yoshimitsu Morita. Cast: Matsuda Yusaku, Itami Juzo, Saori Yuki. A film that pokes fun at contemporary Japanese ideals, portraying a middle-class family as it battles against the Japanese educational system. Shigeyuki Numata has been the underachieving, troubled teen slacker in his somewhat dysfunctional family, but he's about to get severely schooled when Yoshimoto, a hard-nosed tutor with his own unique brand of hands-on teaching, crashes into his life. 107 min.

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