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Film ReviewsFilm Festival
July, 2007

The top-ten must see films
1. The Rebel (Vietnam)
The Rebel was viewed by over 8,000 people on its opening night in Vietnam. Highly regarded for its quality filming, the dramatic story is set in the 1920's when the country was still a colony of France. At the height of the French-Vietnamese conflict, rebel forces emerged in many forms to disrupt the foreign occupiers. In response, the French employed elite units of Vietnamese agents to track and destroy the rebels.

The Rebel

2. Love for Share (Indonesia)
This Indonesian film addresses some sensitive issues for Muslim women and looks at the inequality between the sexes at the present time. Love for Share tells the stories of three wives from vastly different backgrounds and places; one thin thread connecting the women is their common predicament. Successful doctor Salma must reconcile her devotion to Islam with her discontent; living in an over-crowded slum, Siti resents being a third bride and forms a tight bond with wife Dwi; and the self-involved Ming vows to make it work to her advantage.

3. Belle de jour (France/Italy)
This is a film in the Luis Bunuel Retrospective. The Spanish filmmaker worked in Mexico, France, and the US as well as his native country. He is considered to be one of the most important directors in the history of cinema. Belle de jour tells the story of a young, beautiful Paris housewife who has masochistic daydream fantasies about elaborate floggings and bondage.

4. Belle Toujours (Portugal)
A remake version of Luis Bunuel by a famous director like Oliviara, continues from Belle de jour.  Belle Toujours is about two of the strange characters from the film Belle de jour, and they relive, thirty eight years later, in the strangeness of a secret which was only in the possession of the masculine character and a knowledge that had become crucial to the female character.

5. Renaissance (UK)
A dynamic sci-fi detective animation takes place in Paris in 2054. It concerns a labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded. Cut off from the world for its own protection, the city has nonetheless continued to expand.  English voiceovers include Jonathan Pryce from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and Daniel Craig, the latest James Bond. Craig is Captain Karas, who is specifically requested to investigate the case of a kidnapped scientist, Ramala Garai is the voice of Ilona.

6. Muay Thai Chaiya (Thailand)
This is a story about the ancient art and sport of Thai boxing called Muai Khat Chuak. The film is presented by Five Star Production and is to be the closing film at the Bangkok International Film Festival 2007.

7. Shortbus (USA)
This cleverly created film has the feel of the old ‘underground’ productions. It looks at topics covering all manners of sexual and moral issues, but told in a lighter, humorous way.  Shortbus follows various New York City characters as they navigate the comic/tragic intersections between sex and love in and around a modern-day polysexual underground salon called Shortbus. The story is set in post-911 New York City and is for persons over 18 years old only.

8. The Competition (USA)
Where will the world's next great young conductor come from?  Maestro Lorin Maazel and arts philanthropist Alberto Vilar endeavor to find out with a global competition that culminates with finals in New York's Carnegie Hall.  The Competition follows Maestro Maazel as he literally travels the world in search of the next great conductor.  Under intense pressure and the equally-withering gaze of Maestro Maazel, the competitors must distinguish themselves from a diverse group of supremely talented young artists.  How will they react to the pressure and the scrutiny?  Which eight will earn a trip to New York for the final and which of those will earn the approval of the great Maestro himself?

9. Sholay (India)
A beyond-time classic movie of Bollywood – one of Hema Malini’s tributes. The story tells about two convicts and small-time crooks (Amitabh and Dharmendra) are picked by Thakur (Sanjeev Kumar), a former police officer, to seek vengeance on the dangerous bandit Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan) because he killed all of Thakur's family (except a daughter-in-law) and maimed Thakur for life.

10. Edge of Heaven (German/Turkey)
The film won the Best Screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Directed by newcomer Fatih Akin, this is another ‘must see’ film for the Bangkok International Film Festival 2007.
Edge of Heaven tells the story of the intersecting destinies in Germany and Turkey, of men and women from different backgrounds. It makes the viewer aware of the pain and complexity of the loss of cultural identity and relationships.

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