Saturday, January 12, 2008


--I have submitted Filmsick’s review of PHANTOM LOVE (2007, Nina Menkes) as a part of Contemplative Blogathon 2.

This is my comment in Unspoken Cinema’s blog:

This is a synopsis of THE KITE (2002, Aleksei Muradov, Russia) in TIME OUT FILM GUIDE, written by Geoff Andrew. I love this film a lot, but I think Andrew wrote this review by being conscious of different groups of his readers—those who love contemplative films and those who don’t.

“From the opening scene of an alcoholic boozing by night to the somewhat unexpected ending, this slow, sombre film refuses to make things explicit or easy for the viewer. The narrative shifts focus almost as much as the camera, demanding patience as it reveals only gradually what's going on or why. If anything, it's a vision of hell on earth: a couple row endlessly, drained by the difficulties of work and of caring for a disabled son. The film does finally reward the attentive viewer with revelations and moments of true tenderness, but it's probably a bit too gloomy and ungiving for most tastes.”

As for the kind of short review I like, I like what my friend Filmsick wrote for RAISED FROM DUST (2006, Gan Xiao Er, China) in his most favorite film list of 2007 in a Thai website ( , because it’s the review which makes me know instantly that this is a must-see film for contemplative film lovers, though he may use some words which may seem like a warning for those who don’t love contemplative films.

I tried to translate his review from Thai into English here. My translation is not 100 % accurate compared to his Thai review:

“This film is about a poor woman who has a sick husband staying in a hospital and a daughter who can’t pay tuition fees. What’s surprising is that the film contains no melodramatic scene. This is a low-budget film, full of static shots and stillness. The images seem to be transfixed by the empty atmosphere of rural China. Every scene is so natural, so life-like and so long that it can be a torture. The film is like a documentary without an ounce of sentimentality. We rarely see a close-up scene of the heroine. The story doesn’t seem to move forward. There is no music. Even in the climactic scene, we can only hear a sound of the wheels from her vehicle. This is not a kind of slow-but-deep films as Hou Hsiao-hsien’s, nor a kind of slow-bittter-humorous films as Tsai Ming-liang’s. But this is a film of stillness and silence which is extremely hurtful and powerful.”


Anonymous said...

I think the movie is fabulous,cause it's described a vivid life in China rural area which a area that the groverment still think religion especially christianism as a threat to its totalitarianism.after all ,I love this movie

celinejulie said...

Thank you for your comment. I wish I could see this film soon.