Monday, 2 January 2012

Hong He - Red River

2009 by Zhang Jiarui - Chinese movie

I think I was very lucky to watch this movie. It didnt have much of a media backing and one must be lucky to go by this movie and still to decide to watch it. I feel lucky that I trusted the opinion of a Chinese blog and decided to look for this movie.

The war with America also left lots of mine fields in Vietnam. A Tao, a young Vietnamese girl living by the Chinese border is shocked and become mentally challenged by witnessing her father becoming prey to land mine. Like many other Vietnamese girls, she too has to cross out to China and starts working in a massage parlour run by her dead father's sister, as a cleaner. A Shao, a road side karoake operator finds out that, though retarded A Tao sings beautifully and hence hires her. A Tao is attracted to A Shao. A local mafia goon had liked the innocence of A Tao and is after her too.

I would call this as one of the best love tragedies I have ever seen. The movie does not have any ingredients of a normal entertainer, in fact it progress more like an art house movie. And the first few minutes are quite slow. However, the mine blast comes in as a terrible shock and soon we meet the grown up A Tao, the mentally challenged young lady. Here after, the movie is so engaging and brilliant. The large, innocent and expressive eyes of A Tao will attract us and will make us feel for her. We will laugh, sing and cry with her. What a brilliant character.

As the love plot is formed and as the villain arrives, A Tao alone is required to move us on to the edge of our seat. The second half of the movie is really like a thriller and we wish for this strange couple from the bottom of our hearts. I really felt worried for them. And the end, which takes us to a strange feeling is tragic. I mean, there is some hope somewhere, but it is still very sad. I had a similar tragic feeling many years back, watching a Malayalam movie Bhootha Kannady. I would say, the ending of Hong He was similar. You know that it is a big tragedy, but there is a probable may be....

Absolutely, a brilliant performance by Jingchu Zang as A Tao. I have seen her in some other movies too. But this must be her best, for me at least. For me, this is one of the best performances from a female actor, ever. Everybody were good, but A Tao's eyes are haunting me.

It is such a pity that any movie, even with a slight hint at problems caused by America, is somehow pushed away from the main stream even in the internet world. Even other Chinese movies, which are not half as good as Hong He gets better reviews from West. I, hence, find it difficult to fathom the state of this movie.

A must watch movie, for sure. And anybody has any doubts on Chinese movies, please watch this.

Swapna Sanjaari

2011 by Kamal - Malayalam movie

I wonder when will the veteran directors of Malayalam cinema will get fed up or tired of making the same kind of movies.

Swapna Sanjaari, about a man who became very rich with Gulf money and tries his best to get a name in the village as a kind rich man face seviour failure, is not a bad movie at all. But the problem is there is hardly anything new in this movie. In one way or other almost everything in this movie has occupied scenes, briefly or detailed ways, in many other Malayalam movies since the end of 80's. In fact everybody should be able to guess correctly what exactly is going to happen with all the characters in this movie.

Definitely there is a message behind this movie, but the ingredients of the wine and the bottle and the package are all tested and tried a lot in the last two decades. It is just the credit of the director that he has managed to shoot the scenes allright that the movie will make a pass as a one time watchable average fare.

Just like I mentioned with the directors, it is also incredible that Jayaram is not fed up of playing the same kind of roles again and again and again.