Second Wave

Last night, Mr Yahho visited the movie house to watch the Old French Movie. This is the part of "Bastille Day Special" in collaboration with Alliance Française de Penang".

This vibrant three-hour epic was made during the German occupation by director Marcel Carné, poet Jacques Prévert and designer Alexandre Trauner, the chief creators of the so-called poetic realism that dominated French cinema in the late 1930s. The film then enjoyed a triumphant reception at its premiere in March 1945, just two months before VE Day, when it helped assert the indomitable spirit of French culture and restore national pride.

The Nazi regime forbade direct reference to the war or any currently controversial matter, so the setting is the Parisian theatre of the 1830s, which is given a Balzacian social scope and dramatic vigour. Pierre Brasseur and Jean-Louis Barrault play rival actors, one a Shakespearean star, the other a brilliant mime, both of them in love with the cool, graceful Arletty's much-sought-after courtesan, who's also admired by a charismatic criminal and an aristocrat.

The movie was shot in extraordinary circumstances at Nice's Victorine studios and can be read as an allegory about mid-20th-century France. The final sequence of Barrault being swept away in a swirling crowd as Arletty is driven off in her coach is one of the peaks of romantic cinema. This carefully restored version is accompanied by two first-rate documentaries about its production and significance.

Guardian, Published: Sunday 23 September 2012 00.05 BST
Les Enfants du Paradis
(Marcel Carné, 1945, Second Sight, PG)

By Philip French

On Saturday, he visited also the Star Pitt to watch the Japanese movie, "Fireworks from the Heart (2010)":

Where Fireworks from the Heart works extremely well is when it explores this familial bond. Where the film runs into trouble is when the narrative decides to focus intently on Taro’s relationship towards his community members and away from his family. This happens primarily within the last act of the film, where we see Taro begin to interact with his peers in a manner that remedies his affliction of being a hikikomori. While not totally deviant from the emotionally riveting first half of the film, it becomes increasingly centered on rather trite circumstances that don’t necessarily develop Taro as a character in a realistic fashion. For someone such as Taro to have faced such dire circumstances with his family, it just seems somewhat too easy for writer Masafumi Nishida and director Masahiro Kunimoto to end the film on an overly sentimental note that doesn’t necessarily reflect the strength of family offered throughout the film. With an overextended focus on the Katakai Fireworks Festival towards the end, it simply appeals as a way to nicely wrap up Taro’s development as a character, a move that removes the originality of his character seen in the beginning. A more subtle realization on part of Taro would’ve worked out much better during this portion of the film, allowing the audience to sympathize more with his difficult journey rather than his newfound status as a social individual.

Besides the rather excessively melodramatic conclusion, Fireworks from the Heart is still a relatively strong film for its focus on a family dealing with the trials and tribulations of an uncertain future. Actor Kengo Kora and actress Mitsuki Tanimura give wonderful performances throughout the film, each to bringing to life the struggle their characters face in a plausible light. Dealing with the issue of hikikomori, the film doesn’t downplay the significance of the problem, but rather tackles in a way that is authentic in regards to it being a family issue and not simply a personal dilemma. With a rather simple narrative structure, the film doesn’t indulge too much on the sentimentality easily brought about by its premise−except perhaps for the ending−but it relies more on the strength of the familial bonds shared by the characters, which provides the film some novelty. This is what makes Fireworks from the Heart stand above many similar films that deal with such issues, in turn making it a thoughtful and emotional experience.
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Director: Masahiro Kunimoto
Writer: Masafumi Nishida (screenplay)
Stars: Kengo Kôra, Mitsuki Tanimura, Mayumi Asaka


IN little more than a month’s time, aspiring Malaysian filmmakers under the age of 25 will be able to test their movie-making skills while learning from some top names in the region.

But that’s only if they’re selected for the awesome Next New Wave film-making workshop, which is back for its second year.

The brainchild of director Tan Chui Mui (note), the workshop focuses on six elements of the craft – producing, directing, production design, cinematography, editing and sound.

“You can only learn film-making by making films,” said Tan. “That’s why workshops like these are important.”

The workshop, sponsored by the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia, will hold its second edition from Aug 19-26 with the objective of encouraging young
Malaysians to develop their artistry and expose them to South-East Asian cinema.

It’s also important for filmmakers to build a supportive community, said Tan.

The Star 2, Published: Tuesday 12 July 2016
Behind the scenes
Aspiring filmmakers get excited: film director Tan Chui Mui shares what it takes to make it in showbiz.

(note) Tan, born 1978, was born in Sungai Ular, a small fishing village in Kuantan, Malaysia:
Filmmaker Tan Chui Mui credited her career to Yasmin’s timely assistance. She first met Yasmin in 2004 when she had to run an errand for a friend. She brought some of her short works to Yasmin’s office. Yasmin liked her documentary Hometown and encouraged her to make more films. When Tan came up with the script for A Tree In Tanjung Malim, she needed RM2,000 to shoot the short film.

“Yasmin told me to go to her office to get the money from her. Just like that,” said Tan.

A Tree In Tanjung Malim went on to win the Principal Prize at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in Germany in 2005.

“That was life-changing for me, and it was what made me decide to make films full-time,” said Tan. “Yasmin’s help was very important for my career. She did a lot to help nurture new talents.”

Inspired by Yasmin’s charitable nature, Tan decided to “pay it forward” and used the prize money from Oberhausen to fund films by other filmmakers, most notably Liew Seng Tat’s award-winning Flower In The Pocket.

The Star, Published: Friday, 23 July 2010 | MYT 12:00 AM
A heart of gold
By Allan Koay

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