Now, let's keep this post in English for the international readers to enjoy as well :)
I must admit that I don't watch too many movies if I can avoid it (and I mostly do) because I am not that much of a cinematophile. Still, movies is one of those topics most people can relate to. If you don't find any topic to talk about, why not trying movies? (Says pretty much everything about why this week is movie week on Danger! Bananas... *coughs*)
Let's move on to my personal top 5 Asian movies. Why top 5? Because I couldn't come up with more than five...
Now this one is pretty new in my favourites. In fact, I just watched it on the plane back from China. This is a romantic comedy, a chick flick if you will. I decided to watch it because I didn't want to choose a movie that's too long and exhausting. And I can say that this little rom-com came as a nice surprise.
"Cyrano Agency" is the name of a little theatre company that literally makes people fall in love. Emotionally clumsy people who seek for help to get their love interest turn to Cyrano Agency which then helps by creating romantic scenes, including scripted and thoroughly planned dialogues, locations and even weather.
The problems start when Sang Yong wants the agency's support to get Hee-Young. Interesting detail: She was once the girlfriend of the agency's boss, Byung Hoon.
Some of the jokes seem a bit predictable, yes. You need to accept the premise of a love agency like that being possible, yes. But once you're done with that, you have a pretty decent and touching movie with a toned down and half-cautious, half-classic happy end. The only obvious downside I can think of is the cast for Sang Yong: he just doesn't seem to be "nerdy" enough to pull off the awkward type.
And, one little detail: I think that the south korean actors are one of the most handsome in Asia. ;)
"Adrift in Tokyo"
Although being in this top 5 list, I watched this movie only once. It's a good movie but so sad in the end that I can hardly contain my tears. *sobs in advance*
This movie is about a long-term good-for-nothing student, Fumiya, who has serious debts at some shady loan sharks. A debt collector called Fukuhara shows up and threatens him to pay, but the student can't pay. So the debt collector offers him a deal: If Fumiya takes a walk with him through Tokyo to a certain police station, his debts would be amortised...
Fumiya first walks with Fukuhara out of bare necessity, but soon becomes connected to the older guy. The longer they walk, the weirder (and funnier) events become. He wishes for this walk to continue forever. However, every journey finds its end :( Why are beautiful movies often so sad?This is one of the few Japanese movies I like. Most of the time I am not too satisfied with the level of acting. I don't know why, but Japanese actors are often just not that good. "Adrift" is an exception...
"The snake in the eagle's shadow"
This one had to be in the list. It stands for all the other Eastern that I watched in my life. I am not that much of a martial arts nerd, but let's face it. Martial arts kick ass (literally and figuratively). As said in a previous blog post in German, this movie is basically an underdog story mixed with some good-vs-evil. It's a bit on the goofy side, which is not a negative point for me.
The one on one combats are very well put together and entertaining and the characters are a bit cliché and lovable at the same time.
All the exaggerated sound effects, the bad zooms and the cute cat called tiger add to the fun.
"I'm a cyborg, but that's ok"
Another korean movie, this time by Park Chan-Wook, the director who also brought you Oldboy. This movie, however, is nothing like Oldboy (thank god!). It's a love story with a freaky twist: The whole plot takes place in an asylum. Young-Goon is a young girl who thinks that she is a cyborg, hence she doesn't eat. She just licks batteries instead to "charge". This becomes a life-threatening issue, but nobody seems to be able to help her. Il-Sun, who is also hospitalized in that asylum due to anti-social behaviour and other problems, finally fixes her by "building in" a food processor that enables her to convert food into energy.
To put it shortly: This is the weird, freaky version of boy-meets-girl. The strange world the people in the asylum are living in (both the asylum itself and their own imagination) helps to make this love story un-kitschy and special.
"Howl's Moving Castle"
And virtually every other Ghibli movie. They are all good. The characters in Howl are not Asian, but it's from Japan which should suffice to declare it an Asian movie.
I've seen this movie about a dozen times and still the atmosphere captures me again and again. The design of the city reminds me a lot of how some German towns actually look like... today! (Namely like Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl.) This medieval, old-german background gets combined with steampunk (think of the moving castle) and a lot of magic and fantasy elements makes this a unique mixture that seems to work on a universally seeming scale.
Also, I am a big fan of the talking fire, calcifer. He is the "heart" and engine of the moving castle and just so cute :3
As you might have noticed I haven't included any classics of Asian cinematography. The reason is simple: I just haven't watched movies like Rashomon or Seven Samurai yet.
Have you watched any Asian movies? And if you have, which ones did you like?