World Cinema Essentials

21/11/2005
  |  Buy to Own: 21/11/2005
  |  557 min
Rated TBC by the BBFC

Synopsis

Box set containing five popular foreign films. 'House of Flying Daggers' (2004) is a martial arts action-drama from Chinese director Zhang Yimou. Leo (Andy Lau) and Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) have been given the task of ferreting out the leaders of a revolutionary faction known as the Flying Daggers. Jin arrives in disguise at a brothel, where the members are allegedly working and is introduced to a beautiful blind dancer named Mei (Zhang Ziyi). But when Jin drunkenly attempts to have his way with her, Leo is forced to intervene and after gaining her trust, arrests her and informs her that she'll be tortured if she doesn't tell all she knows about the Flying Daggers. 'Bad Education' (2004) was first screened at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. It follows the intertwining stories of two boys, Enrique (Fele Martínez) and Ignacio (Gael García Bernal), who fall in love at an abusive Catholic school and are parted by a jealous paedophile priest. Sixteen years later, Enrique, now a successful filmmaker, is casting about for an idea for a new film when a young cross-dressing actor, claiming to be Ignacio but known as 'Angel', approaches him with a short story based on their schooldays together. Enrique decides to use the story, and casts Angel in the film's lead role, despite his discovery that Angel is not in fact Ignacio, who died three years earlier shortly after completing the story, but his younger brother. Enrique's film also includes scenes in which the grown-up Ignacio tracks down the Catholic priest who abused them as boys, and these scenes soon become mirrored by real-life events. Almodóvar moves away from his trademark quirky comedy with this dark and brooding drama, using a complex 'film-within-a-film' structure to create a noir-like sense of mystery and blurred identity, and to explore the relationship between fantasy and reality. 'The Dreamers' (2003) is an erotic drama based on the novel by Gilbert Adair. Set against the backdrop of a politically-turbulent Paris in 1968, the film tells the story of Matthew (Michael Pitt), an American student abroad, who befriends twin brother and sister Theo (Louis Garrel) and Isabelle (Eva Green) at a political demonstration. The three share a passion for cinema, and quickly become friends. When the twins' parents (Robin Renucci and Anna Chancellor) leave the city for the summer, the twins invite Matthew to live with them in their sumptuous Bohemian flat. As the revolution rages outside in the streets, the three embark on an intense, insular journey that will change Matthew's life forever. 'The Edukators' (2004) is a comedy about Jule (Julia Jentsch), a waitress who moves in with her boyfriend Peter (Stipe Erceg) and his friend Jan (Daniel Bruhl), two young men united by their passion to change the world. But Jule has a secret: an automobile accident in the past has burdened her with lifetime payments to a successful businessman named Hardenberg (Burghart Klaussner). Peter and Jan also have a secret: they are the notorious 'Edukators' - mysterious perpetrators who break into the expensive homes of local yacht club members as an act of political rebellion. They wreak havoc and leave notes that read, 'Your days of plenty are numbered'. While Peter is away on holiday, secrets between Jan and Jule are disclosed and feelings between them intensify. They impulsively break into the home of the businessman to whom Jule is indebted. But their growing passion has made them careless and when they're forced to return to the villa the following night to retrieve a forgotten cell phone, Hardenberg surprises them. They have no choice but to call Peter for help, even if it means his finding out about their betrayal. Finally, 'Tears of the Black Tiger' (2000) is a camp hyper-coloured Thai Western. Rich girl Rumpoey (Stella Malucchi) and peasant boy Dum (Chartchai Ngamsan) have been friends since they were children and now that they have reached adulthood, they intend to marry. However, when Dum's father is murdered by a bandit, Dum vows to take revenge and joins a gang who will help him track down the killer. Rumpoey's father then becomes the governer of the area, and promises his daughter in marriage to Captain Kumjorn, the policeman who has dedicated himself to bringing Dum's gang to justice. Will Dum fall prey to the captain's pursuits? Will he and his true love Rumpoey ever meet again?