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 Maiden's Voyage 
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Macrology wrote:
The Overcoat, to the best of my knowledge, is still in production. It's actually the longest running production in cinema history at this point. God willing, he'll finish it before he dies.
So weird! Nineteen people on IMDb claim to have seen it, haha.

When this documentary comes out, maybe we'll find out what's going on.

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Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:47 pm
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I think he has screened what he has completed of the film at different junctures in time, so they may be referring to that. Or, while it's almost inconceivable, someone on the internet may have lied about something.

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Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:51 pm
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Macrology wrote:
Or, while it's almost inconceivable, someone on the internet may have lied about something.

Haha!

:)

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Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:58 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Burning

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Just got done watching Chang-dong Lee's Burning! Something tells me this may be the kind of movie I need to mull over before writing about it, but I'm going to give it a try, anyway, while I'm filled with enthusiasm. This may be my favorite Lee (over Secret Sunshine). It certainly belongs on my Korean favorites list, along with The Handmaiden and others I'm not thinking of at the moment.

From my small sample (of five) films from Lee, I'd say I prefer his adapted screenplays. They're less schematic, more messy/complex. And here he's adapted a story by a master and one of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami. The short story (which is terrific, by the way) is more ambiguous; Lee spells things out with the kitchen conversation about metaphor. But it's the rest of what he adds that makes this so great. He introduces pathos with a second critical metaphor by Hae-mi, who comes into sharp focus here despite the main character's almost willful blindness (both here and in the book). And he cranks up the suspense (nonexistent in the story) to an unbearably mournful, even hopeless pitch. The social critique reminds me of Sono's Guilty of Romance. Of course, Sono's warnings are to do with sex and Lee's with debt, but both warn of the dangers facing young women who are viewed as expendable. Still, this one offers a small gesture of hope, a catharsis of awakening, that Sono's film never had. So I'm going to add it to my angry optimism list as well.

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Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:13 am
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Loved Burning. I thought Lee captured the melancholy and alienation of Murakami's characters perfectly (I had also caught some motifs from The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle as well, such as enigmatic cats and wells), and the suffocating atmosphere certainly emulated some of the writer's best work. Lee's choices in the third act - which go thematically and psychologically way beyond what was only hinted at in the short story - release the pressure that was relentlessly building for the first two hours. And how about that use of Miles Davis.

It's also important to note that the father subplot is heavily inspired by Faulkner's Barn Burning. The way Lee combines the themes of the two stories seems effortless in its execution.


Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:37 pm
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I noticed the well and the cat and Miles Davis. Did you notice the brief mention of pasta?

But, great catch on the Faulkner story! It really does elegantly blend the two stories—wow!! I called this movie literary based on the metaphor motif, but it’s quite a bit more than that. Forget my blather about adaptations above, I’m guessing his co-writer has a lot to do with the particularly bookish (and I mean that in the best way) nature of this one:

https://www.asiapacificscreenawards.com/apsa-academy-members/oh-jung-mi

I can’t wait to see their future collaborations!

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Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:37 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Bruno Ganz

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1941-2019

Bruno Ganz has been one of my favorites for a very long time. I’ve seen him in at least thirteen films that span his career, from Rohmer’s The Marquise of O to Potter’s The Party. Of course I’m nowhere near completing his extensive filmography. (He'd made seven in just the past two years!) But here are four that were already on my list that I’ll watch in his honor:


If you have a recommendation, I'll do my best to get ahold of it:


Watching the Wenders sequel has made me realize I don't remember the first movie at all. So there will be at least one rewatch:


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Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:05 am
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I feel like you've probably seen The American Friend, but if not, that's an interesting one.

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Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:58 am
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Macrology wrote:
I feel like you've probably seen The American Friend, but if not, that's an interesting one.
Yes, I love that one! He and Hopper seemed to have such a good time together. :)

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Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:23 am
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The Last Days of Chez Nous could be worth your time (there's n way you're not at least already aware of Eternity and a Day).

and yeah, crappy news. I'm glad he was able to stay so busy during his final years but still....


Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:11 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Youth Without Youth

I really like this film, but it has a very sketchy critical reputation.

For other recs, I assume everyone here has seen Wings of Desire. The Last Days of Chez Nous is very good. Herzog's Nosferatu has Ganz opposite Kinski. Another critical flop that I will tirelessly champion is The Counselor, and Ganz carries an essential scene early in the film. The director's cut doubles and enhances this scene, and is the mandatory version to watch.


Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:37 am
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I've seen everything mentioned here except The Counselor. I didn't even know he was in that one!

First up is The Dust of Time.

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Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:04 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Bruno Ganz

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The Dust of Time, Theodoros Angelopoulos

First in my Bruno Ganz series is one I've wanted to see for years. I loved The Weeping Meadow for its perfect evocation of what I call mournful nostalgia, so I was eager to see the next in the series. But, sadly, it lacks the poetry of the first one. And, while everyone in this movie is talking about longing for an impossible past, it's not something that we feel. Also, why on earth is the character Spyros played the majority of the time by a stand-in who can't show his face? What casting nightmare plagued this production? Ganz does his best, but he has a somewhat thankless role as the losing side of an awkward love triangle. Disappointing.

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Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:54 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: More Bruno Ganz

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Youth Without Youth, Francis Ford Coppola

The next in my Bruno Ganz series, this is the first film I've seen from Coppola since the turn of the century. Has he somehow become Raoul Ruiz? This is a far cry from The Rainmaker. I didn't always know what was going on here, but there was romance, beauty, philosophy, mystery, sci-fi, Nazis, the supernatural – and nostalgia to spare! So many delicious ingredients poured into two hours, that I simply relaxed and let it wash over me. Ganz gets a great role this time, as a kindly, intelligent doctor who goes to great lengths to help his most remarkable patient.

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Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:54 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Youth Without Youth, Francis Ford Coppola

Has he somehow become Raoul Ruiz? This is a far cry from The Rainmaker. I didn't always know what was going on here, but there was romance, beauty, philosophy, mystery, sci-fi, Nazis, the supernatural – and nostalgia to spare! So many delicious ingredients poured into two hours, that I simply relaxed and let it wash over me.

The film doesn't lack for ambition, but I don't find it as muddled as many critics. Or rather I find the film's convolutions of language and the subconscious to be fascinating. I think that it's a brave return to form for Coppola since at least the visual splendor or Dracula and his other unwieldy but evocative work.


Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:47 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
Or rather I find the film's convolutions of language and the subconscious to be fascinating.
This!

The only thing that confused me was the double; I'm still not sure what that was. But I love ancient languages, and would have watched twice as much of her nighttime ravings. Though I see why they had to stop before they got to the last level, haha!

How does his style here compare to his other recent stuff (Twixt and Tetro)?

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Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:02 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
How does his style here compare to his other recent stuff (Twixt and Tetro)?

What's been most refreshing about Coppola's "comeback" is his appetite for experimentation, and all three films are stylistically distinct from each other. Youth is the best of them, imo. Tetro has a B&W indie vibe which also recalls Kazan at times. Twixt is a goofy farce, very silly and a little cheap-looking (shot on digital), but fun if you get the joke early on. None of them have too much in common with his earlier output other than some dependable deep focus compositions and wipe pans. It feels like he's still pushing to find a new way of narrative storytelling, not always successfully, but certainly not resting on his legacy either.


Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:38 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
It feels like he's still pushing to find a new way of narrative storytelling, not always successfully, but certainly not resting on his legacy either.
Yes, it's much more interesting than I expected! Thanks for your thoughts. I'll have to get to Twixt and Tetro eventually. Youth Without Youth was so good!

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Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:53 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Still Bruno Ganz

Putting a link here to my latest Bruno Ganz viewing:

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Circle of Deceit, Volker Schlöndorff

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Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:53 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Yep, it's Bruno

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I got a little way into Faraway, So Close! and realized I remembered very little about Wings of Desire. So I had a Wim Wenders double feature! Wings (pictured above) is really the ultimate Bruno Ganz film. He fills the screen with sweetness, compassion, child-like wonder, hopeless love, and the excitement of brand new sensations. He's lovely, and the movie's fine. But Faraway (pictured below) was a real surprise. Maybe I'm just being contrary, since I know the first film is the classic everyone loves, but I like the sequel more. Sure, it's lighthearted, even silly, with its bumbling protagonist and goofy heist plot. But, the cast have grown comfortable in their roles, the narration is more resonant (and happily less poetic), and, in the end, I think it's more honest about the pain of life and memory and regret. Plus, the music is better! Definitely one of my favorites from Wenders.

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Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:28 pm
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I need a little advice. I just realized that Faraway, So Close! is the most recent thing I've seen by Wim Wenders. In fact, I was shocked to see that he's made 10 non-documentary features since! I think the last one I heard anything about was The Million Dollar Hotel. Has anyone here seen any of these? Do you have any recommendations?

Submergence
The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez
Everything Will Be Fine
Palermo Shooting
Don’t Come Knocking
Land of Plenty
The Million Dollar Hotel
The End of Violence
Die Gebruder Skladanowsky
Lisbon Story

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Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:02 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Has anyone here seen any of these?

Only a couple :(

Shieldmaiden wrote:
Don’t Come Knocking

Slight Sam Shepard story, expect no Paris, Texas here, or even Altman's Fool For Love. This one is pretty pedestrian and forgettable, imo.

Shieldmaiden wrote:
The Million Dollar Hotel

I remember very little about it, a few faces but none of their stories.

Shieldmaiden wrote:
The End of Violence

I liked this one a bit, an intriguing take on surveillance and panopticism, but it's also bloated and in need of a decent edit. It's similar to my impression of Until the End of the World when I first watched the theatrical cut. I'm not sure if there's a DC of Violence waiting around somewhere, but I would welcome it.

Also, not mentioned is his collaboration with Antonioni, Beyond the Clouds, which might at first look like an artier Red Shoe Diary, but is actually a very effective erotic drama. It's really more of an Antonioni film than Wenders, but worth seeking out.


Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:27 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
I liked this one a bit, an intriguing take on surveillance and panopticism, but it's also bloated and in need of a decent edit. It's similar to my impression of Until the End of the World when I first watched the theatrical cut. I'm not sure if there's a DC of Violence waiting around somewhere, but I would welcome it.

Also, not mentioned is his collaboration with Antonioni, Beyond the Clouds, which might at first look like an artier Red Shoe Diary, but is actually a very effective erotic drama. It's really more of an Antonioni film than Wenders, but worth seeking out.
Cool. I'll check out The End of Violence and Beyond the Clouds, then. Thanks!

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Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:11 pm
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The Counselor, Ridley Scott

Wow, the writing in this! I can't think of a non-Shakespeare film where the words (monologues, even) are so obviously its raison d'être. I might almost have preferred reading it, but then I wouldn't have been able to enjoy that very entertaining Javier Bardem performance. Good movie!

And, that wraps up my Bruno Ganz project.

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Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:15 pm
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And Ganz gets such a richly written scene:

"This is a cynical business, we seek only imperfection."

"To enhance the beauty of the beloved is to acknowledge both her frailty and the nobility of that frailty. At our noblest, we announce to the darkness that we will not be diminished by the brevity of our lives."

"Everything bears a strange familiarity. But the fit is always poor and the hands are always bloody."

It would have been a wonderful Cormac McCarthy book, but I think it's fine enough as a film.


Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:58 pm
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Yeah, that scene was fascinating. And foreboding. Good use of Ganz. :)

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Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:15 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: New and improved Korean top ten

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In the last couple months I’ve been on a quest to catch up on some of the Korean films on my to-see list and to find actual female voices in the industry, if possible. Since the first of the year I’ve watched 12 Korean films, four of which are by women. Now it’s time for a long overdue revamp of my favorite Korean films list from 2012. Without further ado:

    Lady Vengeance is still my number one. I haven't seen the rest of Chan-wook Park's vengeance trilogy, but I've never experienced catharsis on screen like I do watching this. I doubt I'd reap the same benefits (or love the main character nearly so much) if this were simply a tale of victimhood and revenge. Instead, the focus is on her fraught inner history – her struggle with guilt and the question of whether redemption is ever truly possible.

    Chang-dong Lee has always been exceptionally attuned to his female characters even when they're not his main focus. In Burning, he shows us a woman off center (off-screen even), only as she's seen by others, yet filling the emotional center in a way that creeps up on you. This is Lee's first screenplay collaboration (with Jungmi Oh), and it's a beautifully layered, literary work, and a stunning film. I wrote more about this one here.

    Woman on the Beach is the film that sold me on Sang-soo Hong. Here he trades in his usual sad-sack male filmmaker protagonist for the girlfriend of a sad-sack male filmmaker. Mun-sook is flawed and difficult, but extremely likeable, and she makes the film's bittersweet take on relationships likeable too. Read more here.

    There's no arguing that Bad Guy is a difficult film. I'm not a fan of Ki-duk Kim at all, even (especially) in his better known films. But once I looked at this one as a twisted fairy tale, rather than a literal saga of human trafficking, I found it tapped into something deep inside me. I make another attempt to explain this here.

    I’m a sucker for 'sad child' movies and A Brand New Life is a perfect example, with extra points for avoiding stereotypes and melodrama. It's a simple, exquisitely detailed portrayal of a child's inner life in a time of crisis. Sure, director Ounie Lecomte has the advantage of being that now-grown-up child; but she gets all the credit for the steady, gentle hand with which she pulls us into her world. (Pictured below.)

    On the Beach at Night Alone (pictured above) is thematically very similar to that other beach-y Hong above, in that he tells the story from the woman’s perspective, giving her a voice and catharsis, though it means showing himself* in a (somewhat) bad light. There's a relaxed quality to this one, somewhat surprising given that he's kicked his usual autobiographical elements up a few notches. Maybe the secret is actress Min-hee Kim? He's (apparently) found a face he never tires of filming, and can you really blame him? (Thanks to wigwam for the recommendation!)
    .
    *Yes, it’s fictional and filtered and ambiguous. Still.

    Chan-ok Park won prizes for Jealousy Is My Middle Name, but I hadn't heard of her till now. Obviously influenced by mentor Sang-soo Hong, she has a unique sense of humor and an easy energy that make the film both sweet and ruthless, like its heart-sick protagonist. I'll try to write more about this one soon.

    Joon-ho Bong is famous for Memories of Murder and The Host, and I had a lot of fun with Snowpiercer. But it's this early silly comedy that wins my heart. Barking Dogs Never Bite is a small perfect film, with an unexpected mix of everyday ennui, a little bit of horror, and some very funny (and very dark) situational comedy.

    I forgot to mention that the film above stars the amazing Doona Bae. Here she is again in A Girl at My Door, playing a tough cop who can’t help but get involved when she sees child abuse next door. Her steely performance is a perfect match for writer/director July Jung who presents her complex female characters in all their flaws and ambiguity.

    Another by Chan-wook Park, I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK is a kalaidoscopic screwball romance set in a psychiatric hospital. Some people are uneasy with his mix of very serious topics and silly comedy, but I the way events get distorted through the lens of illness without ever losing sight of what’s at stake. Some pictures of this one here.

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Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:51 am
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Though I ran out of room in the top 10 above, I want to share a couple more highlights from my recent viewing:

    The King and the Clown is a historical soap opera about two traveling clowns and the king they lampoon. It's an entertaining patchwork of friendship and political intrigue and crude jokes; and, in the end, it's a paean to the virtues of performance. (Pictured above.)

    Paju, by the director of Jealousy Is My Middle Name, has been extremely ill-served by its marketing. It’s not a steamy love-triangle thriller but a tragic family drama of misunderstandings and regret, more in line with her previous film, though without the dark comic edge.

    By the director of the better known Spider Forest, Magicians is a creative one-take film about a band revisiting their sad past together. Kinetic and colorful and bittersweet. (Pictured below.)

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Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:52 am
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Guess we lost our Korean film fans, too? Well, if you're ever interested in a primer, Jedi had a classic thread with lots of info: An A to Z of Contemporary Korean Cinema.

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Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:50 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Guess we lost our Korean film fans, too?

I've seen a few of those, but not recently enough to have anything substantial to add.
(Vengeance Trilogy / Barking Dogs / Cyborg / King & Clown)

Shieldmaiden wrote:
I'm not a fan of Ki-duk Kim at all, even (especially) in his better known films.

Can you elaborate on this? I haven't seen anything yet, but he's been on my radar for a few years.

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Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:06 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Can you elaborate on this? I haven't seen anything yet, but he's been on my radar for a few years.
I don't think you have to worry. I have notoriously unpredictable reactions to extreme movie violence. And Kim gets on my nerves with a special sort of twisted-joke violence. Critics raved about Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring, but I felt like the ending was a sick joke. Ditto for 3-Iron. It depends, though. Obviously I loved Bad Guy, and Time is pretty much the ultimate sick-joke punchline, yet it made me laugh! You'll have to see for yourself. :)

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Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:26 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
a special sort of twisted-joke violence.

Ugh, I'm not great with that sort of thing. I don't remember how he came to my attention but I'm pretty sure it was because I read something regarding Bad Guy, so maybe I'll go with that one first.

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Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:37 am
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The King and the Clown was a minor hit in Thailand. I remember it being pretty fun and fascinating, and I can't ever forget its soul-stirring last scene.


Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:47 pm
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

What's the name of the film in which the grandmother is reincarnated as a rapping salamander? Liked that one a lot, pretty sure it's from Thailand. I think I watched it at the same time as Barking Dogs, because my brain always combines the two.

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Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:52 pm
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I was going to google it then an image came back to me (if it's this film, it contains so many indelible images); is it Citizen Dog? Though it's more of a small lizard (common in Thai houses) than salamander.


Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:04 pm
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wichares wrote:
I was going to google it then an image came back to me (if it's this film, it contains so many indelible images); is it Citizen Dog? Though it's more of a small lizard (common in Thai houses) than salamander.

YES, thank you. Now I know why I confuse the two. That rap is one of my favorite things ever.

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Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:08 pm
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wichares wrote:
The King and the Clown was a minor hit in Thailand. I remember it being pretty fun and fascinating, and I can't ever forget its soul-stirring last scene.
Yes! It's a wonderful ending.

wichares wrote:
is it Citizen Dog?
Oh, wow. I barely remember that one. Maybe it's time to revisit.

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Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:45 am
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