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Friday, March 18, 2005

Short Takes: March 18, 2005


Director: Olivier Assayas
Language: English/French/Japanese
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

Set in the near future, "Demonlover" follows ruthless corporate warriors as they try to secure the market for Internet S&M porn sites and acquire a Japanese content-provider called Tokyo Anime, developers of new 3-D pornography. 'Demonlover" is an ambitious piece of work, but while similar films demarcate their dives into the subconscious, "Demonlover" is a bit more vague. Ultimately, the conventional thriller aspects of the first half create a need for resolution, which Assayas ignores at his peril. (Giovanni Fazio)

Lightning in a Bottle

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

Antoine Fuqua ("King Arthur") dispenses with all flashiness in documenting the Tribute to the Blues night at Radio City in New York City. A deliriously wonderful event for blues fans, the likes of Nathalie Cole, Macy Gray, Ruth Brown and Kim Wilson (among many others) get up on stage to howl and croon their hearts out. Fuqua's camera darts back and forth between backstage bantering and onstage spotlights, framing each moment in a way that goes beyond hero-worship. Of course, the big man who wraps it all up is B.B. King. (Kaori Shoji)

Son frere

Director: Patrice Chereau
Language: French
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

When Thomas contracts a mysterious blood disease, he turns to his gay brother Luc for support, even though they haven't spoken in years. What compels Luc to care for his arrogant, difficult, homophobic brother? The movie is never really clear about this and Luc himself seems unsure -- he just can't tear himself away when other family and friends get fed up and leave. But redemption comes for Luc in the end when he realizes the deep unspoken love they come to share for each other. (Kaori Shoji)

Suite Habana

Director: Fernando Perez
Language: Spanish
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

This documentary follows a day in the lives of 12 citizens -- from a 10-year-old girl to a 97-year-old woman -- living in present-day Havana. As the title indicates, the film is musical in nature. With almost no dialogue, the film captures the rhythm of the city and of life itself. The people featured include an old woman selling peanuts on the streets; a young day-laborer who moonlights as a ballet dancer; and a hospital worker who becomes a drag queen at night.

Traces of Dragon

Director: Mabel Cheung
Language: Mandarin
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

A documentary that explores the background of Jackie Chan's past, this film is a must-see for fans of the Hong Kong-born superstar. In 1999, with his wife's health condition deteriorating, Jackie's immigrant father decided to reveal the family story, including his real name, to Jackie. During a turbulent chapter in Chinese history, both his father and his mother abandoned their two children from their previous marriages and left the country to survive.

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