Sunday, August 28, 2005

Art Museum By The Zoo

Missed a large part of the show as I thought Central was showing it another day when I saw the stills of "The Way Home" in the newspaper. In actual fact, the two Korean films were showing on the same 9pm time slot: the former on Central and the latter on Channel U. Incidentally, I was browsing and found that both films are by the same director!

AMBTZ looked quite interesting from the few scenes that I saw! The male and female leads collaborated to write a story that talks about how a girl working at the art museum met a vet at the zoo. Didn't quite catch the details as I was watching "The Apprentice" at the same time but the leads do have the right chemistry together! The female lead, Shim Eun-Ha also acted in "Christmas In August" that is another film that I enjoyed.

Art Museum By the Zoo: IMDB Link
Art Museum By The Zoo: Korean Film Review

Christmas In August: IMDB Link
Christmas In August: Korean Film Review

Monday, August 22, 2005

Man with a Movie Camera

A 1929 silent film documentary made by Russian director Dziga Vertov. The story is about a man who carries the movie camera around and films scenes from many interesting places such as coal mines, factories, railway stations, salons, a lady's house and the city. I like the soundtrack that fit nicely to the story and the special effects!

The editing is very well done to acheive the special effects! We see the director standing on top of the camera in one scene and appearing within a cup in another. The use of freeze frame shows the facial expression of selected individuals, slow motion shows atheletes in action and fast motion shows the trams, horses and people rushing about in the town!

I especially like the scene where they show the operator frantically connecting the lines from one node to another node! I feel that the trams, horses and people move a bit too slow even though it is already in fast motion. Guess I am too used to the speed of automobiles racing on the highway to appreciate it.

Internet Movie Database Link

The Land of Silence and Darkness

This 1971 documentary by German director, Werner Herzog, is about the lives of people who are both blind and deaf. The story is told through a middle aged woman who became blind and deaf during her teens. She actively organises outings for people who have similar disabilities.

Interesting to learn how they communicate through braille drawn on the hand and fingers of the receiver! The film shows a couple of their adventures: flying on a plane, touching the cactus (ouch!), feeding the elephant and carrying a monkey. We learn that these people can lead a normal life despite their disabilities.

The film also shows the plight of the minority who are abandoned at homes and how difficult it is to teach children who are born deaf and blind. I realised how fortunate we are. It also made me empathise better with Kelvin Tan, the visually challenged contestant of project Superstar.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie

An interesting film about a group of friends trying to have a meal together but some strange incident (both real and imaginary) would always occur to prevent it from happening. It is a political satire about people with great wealth and high social standing. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Picture in 1972.

The director, Luis Bunuel, is very good at filming dream sequences! I think he is influenced by his friend, Salvador Dali, who is a surrealist painter. My favorite parts of the film are those where the characters recall a dream that they had before. One soldier dreamt about an unforgettable incident during his childhood and another dreamt about his old acquaintances. Both are very well done!

The rest of the film does not really have a main storyline but still manages to capture the attention of the audience as many strange things happen. There is even a lesson on how to prepare a martini! The scene where the ambassador shot at something on the ground through the window and the one where a girl wore the hat of a certain famous person came across as the most memorable for me.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Scrabylon / Word Wars

Bought these two Scrabble documentaries during the National Day holiday and they are pretty interesting!

Scrabylon is about the 2001 World Scrabble Championship at Las Vegas. It explains a little bit about the history of Scrabble and why some of the players like the game so much. It is a straight forward documentary that shows the rational aspect of the game like learning the wordlist, having a good situation awareness of the board and calmly analysing the game after it has ended.

Word Wars on the other hand revolves its story around four players and how they prepare for the US Scrabble Nationals in San Diego. It reveals the emotional aspect of the game like the effect of Scrabble on the player's personal life, the carmaraderie among the players and the player's facial expression during the game itself. I especially like the the short and sharp video clip on the rules of Scrabble and the use of computer animation to virtually re-arrange the tiles on the screen itself! Had fun trying to guess the word before the time is up!

Watching the tiles fly around on the screen reminds me of a game in "Discovery Kids" on the Discovery channel where they show a zoomed-in view of a particular thing while giving many hints on what that is, one at a time. A time slider bar is shown at the side and it slowly slides from a score of fifty to zero. The objective is to guess what that particular thing is as quickly as possible. I always had fun playing that game too!

Picked up the following interesting anagram combinations from Word Wars. See if you can guess what they are without using LexPert!!


Learnt the following words from Word Wars:
WADI (n) a dry riverbed
ALIENOR (n) one who transfers property
JERRID (n) a blunt javelin
CLABBERS (n) a complex variation of Scrabble
TENTER (v) to stretch on a frame
GENTIAN (n) a flowering plant
DATELINE (n) the origin of a news story
NONLIFE (n) the absence of life
ESTUARY (n) an inlet to a river
BEDSORE (n) a sore caused by a prolonged stay in bed
OBLIQUE (adj) slanted
AZURE (n) a blue color
DOURINE (n) a disease of horses
VODUN (n) religion of the west indies
EGESTING (v) discharging from the body
VARNA (n) a Hindu social class
EXORDIA (n, pl) beginnings
SYLVITE (n) an ore of potassium
DJIN (n) a genie
RETSINA (n) a Greek liqueur
REVELRY (n) noisy merrymaking
ARENOSE (adj) sandy
QUAI (n) a wharf
FRUGAL (adj) thrifty
TWA (n) two
OUTBOXED (vb) surpassed in boxing
INARABLE (adj) unsuitable for farming
INDOLE (n) a chemical compound

Scrabylon: IMDB Link
Word Wars: IMDB Link

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Wayward Cloud

The film reminds me of a Guinness record breaking attempt shown on TV. The objective is to smash as many watermelons as possible with your forehead in one minute and the record now stands at 16!

The story is about how people live after the city is hit by drought. To quench their thirst, they buy mineral waters and water melons. The lead actor, Lee Kang Sheng and actress, Chen Hsiang Chi stay in the same apartment and they start seeing each other when the actress recognizes the actor as a former acquaintance.

There is not much dialogue except for several interesting musical numbers interspersed throughout the film. I like the sound of the clogs on the ground when the lead actress walk about and her brilliant acting performance as a lonely girl searching for someone to care for her!

Internet Movie Database Link