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  • Throne of Blood

    Throne of Blood

    ★★★★½

    Throne of Blood is my favorite adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth (some would even say the best), which is coincidentally the most familiar play I know among Shakespeare’s work. Not that I had read the entire play though. Ironically my main source of knowledge on the English giant of literature comes from cinema, from Hamlet to King Lear (Kurosawa’s Ran is among my favorite film of all time), from Romeo and Juliet to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I learn the story…

  • Kanal

    Kanal

    ★★★★★

    Kanal is one of the best war film ever made. Wajda eliminated glorified heroism, in exchange he showed us how "human" are, in the sense of Italian neorealism, behaved amidst chaos and mayhem. Even though the tragic denouement is more or less announced at the very beginning of the film by an anonymous narrator, the hope of survival is still vigorously palpable via the characters’ countless struggle. The film is nonetheless pessimistic and poignant, but utterly convincing. The contrast between…

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  • Yi Yi

    Yi Yi

    ★★★★★

    The Rearward View of Life

    Near the end of the film Yi Yi, there is a funeral, the little boy Yang-Yang (Jonathan Chang) reads out the letter he wrote for his deceased grandma (Ruyun Tang), saying he would like to be a person of showing stuff others don't see, and now when he sees his baby cousin, he would feel old too. Every time when I watch this ending, I can imagine director Edward Yang expressing his motivation in making…

  • Illumination

    Illumination

    ★★★★½

    A mosaic portrait of the young intellectual Franciszek (Stanislaw Latallo) spanning across his years of studying Physics in college to unexpected marriage and fatherhood, above all it revolves around the protagonist’s existential crisis and anxiety. Shot in a hand-held documentary style and told in a elliptical, obscure narrative, the story is often punctured by inserts of scientific explanation of behavior and phenomenon. The detached and clinical observation is a reflection of the repressive social norm in Poland during the Communist-era,…