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Friday, April 8, 2005

Short Takes: April 8, 2005


Bad Education

Director: Pedro Almodovar
Language: Spanish
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

Partially based on director Pedro Almodovar's experiences in a Spanish Catholic boarding school, "Bad Education" unleashes all his signature themes of sex, passion and love in a torrential flood of lavishly erotic images. Latino Seducer No. 1, Gael Garcia Bernal, stars in a double role of homme and femme fatale. Whether shimmying around in a snug mini-skirt or doing push-ups in a T-shirt and shorts -- either way he drives the men around him completely crazy. (Kaori Shoji)


Les Choristes

Director: Christophe Barratier
Language: French
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

This heartwarming drama begins when a successful conductor comes across his mentor's diary and reminisces about his childhood. Once a problem child at a French reform school, he was taken under the wing of an eccentric music teacher named Clement Mathieu (Gerard Jugnot). Although Mathieu's passionate method of teaching conflicts with the headmaster's policy of strict discipline, he inspires his pupils to reach great heights as a choir group. The beautiful voices on the soundtrack are provided by Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc, a boys' choir group who have been a major hit in France.


Flight of the Phoenix

Director: John Moore
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

In this remake of the classic 1965 Robert Aldrich film, veteran pilot Frank Towns (Dennis Quaid) picks up an oil company crew who have finished an exploration mission in Mongolia. On the return flight, a sandstorm brings the plane down in the middle of the scorching Gobi desert. Knowing that nobody will come to rescue them, they desperately try to build a new plane from the wreckage of the old one.


Samaritan Girl

Director: Kim Ki-Duk
Language: Korean
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

Two high-school girls who are best friends, Jae Yong and Yeo Ji, take up prostitution to earn money for a trip to Europe. Jae Yong sleeps with the men, while Yeo Ji watches out for the police. When Jae Yong falls in love a customer, though, Yeo Ji becomes jealous and fails to do her job. As a consequence, Jae Jong ends up leaping out of a motel window to her death. Guilt-ridden, Yeo Ji tracks down her friend's former customers and not only sleeps with them but returns the money they paid. Things get more complicated when her father, a police officer, learns what his daughter is doing. Kim received the best director award at the Berlin Film Festival last year for this film.


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.



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