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Friday, Dec. 23, 2005

Short takes: Dec. 23, 2005

The Cave of the Yellow Dog

Director: Bayambasuren Davaa
Language: Mongolian
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

In a village with just one school, one shop and one telephone, director Bayambasuren Davaa got a Mongolian nomad family to participate in a film that is part documentary, part fiction. The openness of their faces and the force in their eyes are striking, and 6-year-old Nansa (Nansal Batchuluun), who reputedly did not understand what in the world a camera was, steals every scene. The story revolves around a friendship between Nansa and a stray dog, but the movie is really about innocence, gratitude and genuine joy -- all the things that city-dwellers seem to have lost a long time ago. The splendor of the tall grass blowing in the wind and the Mongolian plains that stretch all the way to the horizon will make you feel gluttonous for space, wind and, of course, horse-back riding. (Kaori Shoji)


Director: Christopher Renshaw
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

A musical tribute to the 1980s London club scene where Boy George and his band The Culture Club lorded over all in their outrageously made-up glory, "Taboo" is fun, irreverent and sizzling-hot. Starring Euan Morton as the young Boy George, and Boy George himself as the club scenester Leigh Bowery, the film is packed with witty, stinging one-liners. Back then during the New Romantic boom, camp was still spanking new, sex and drugs were prerequisites and self-destructive performance acts (in both clubs and the privacy of homes) were the order of the day. Fans of the legendary Mud Club in London will weep to see it resurrected with Morton's Boy George on stage singing "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" (Kaori Shoji)

Born to Fight

Director: Panna Rittikrai
Language: Thai
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

From the maker of "Thai Warrior," "Born to Fight" is another nonstop Thai action movie with extraordinary CGI-less stunt work. When a cop is killed by a drug lord, his devastated partner, Daew (Chupong Changprung) decides to take some time off and accompany his sister Nui (Kessarin Ektawatkul) to an athletic charity event.
The village they happen to visit has been invaded by the drug lord's private army, who have a nuclear missile aimed at Bangkok. Naturally, Daew rises to the occasion and leads a butt-kicking revolt.

L'empire des loups

Director: Chris Nahon
Language: French
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

In this film adaptation of a Jean-Christophe Grange novel (known in English as "Empire of the Wolves"), Anna Heymes (Arly Jover) finds herself suffering from horrible nightmares and memory loss. Suspicious of everyone around her, including her own husband, and uncertain of her own identity, she seeks the help of a stranger.
At the same time, the bodies of female illegal Turkish immigrants are discovered, and dedicated officer Nerteaux (Jocelyn Quivrin) is determined to find the killer. Teaming up with a disgraced, retired cop (Jean Reno), Nerteaux searches for clues in the notorious Turkish district of Paris.
When the paths of the three finally cross, the plot gets good and messy.

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