Asian Film Hall of Fame


This looks like it's going to be an interesting Hall of Fame, and I'm glad I didn't miss out! I've only seen a few of the films, and there are quite a few that I haven't even heard of, but I liked what I saw in the quick google searches I did of them.

Rashomon (1950) - It's been ages since I've seen this, and it was in that block of time during high school when I consumed so many Japanese films in a short period of time that they all started to blur together over the years. I'm looking forward to experiencing this one again, and finally pulling it out of that memory mass!

Black Rain (1989) - The title sounds familiar, but I don't recognize the images that turn up at all, so I certainly haven't seen it before.

Mother (2009) - This is my nomination! I'm going to write something about it soon (hopefully).

Drunken Angel (1948) - I've seen parts of this film before, but not the entire thing. I've been meaning to rectify that, and now I'll finally have the motivation to do so.

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978) - I haven't seen this one either, and it's been a long time since I've watched a Jackie Chan film, so I'm looking forward to it!

Tears of the Black Tiger (2000) - I've never heard of this before, and the images that come up when I search it look quite intriguing.

Chocolate (2008) - Another film I've never heard of that seems interesting.

Paprika (2006) - When I first saw this I wasn't a huge fan, but when I rewatched it for a previous tournament, I really came around on it. The same thing happened with one of Satoshi Kon's other films, Millennium Actress. It's nice to see animation get some more love!

Daimajin (1966) - The title doesn't seem familiar, but for some reason the screenshots do. Perhaps I've seen references to this film in passing, but never quite picked up on it.

Hanagatami (2017) - Yet another film I've never heard of.

Dust in the Wind (1986) - I've at least heard of this one, but that's about it haha.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Taking a quick peek, this looks like a very fun and exciting HoF list of films. Some intriguing unknowns, a few revisits. . . Thanks to everyone participating and nominating such a wonderfully diverse selection of films!

Rashomon 'Rashômon' (1950)
Dir: Akira Kurosawa Country: Japan 1h 28min Allaby This is actually gonna be a two-fer for me since I was lucky enough to have it as a Recommendation in the Foreign Language HoF along with being a Kurosawa I need to see.

Black Rain 'Kuroi ame' (1989)
Dir: Shôhei Imamura Country: Japan 2h 3min Citizen Rules This is unknown to me but it looks like a great watch

Mother 'Madeo' (2009)
Dir: Bong Joon-ho Country: South Korea 2h 9min CosmicRunaway Have not seen this intense film in quite some time so looking forward to a revisit

Drunken Angel 'Yoidore tenshi' (1948)
Dir: Akira Kurosawa Country: Japan 1h 42min Edarsenal This is a Blind Grab for me with Toshirô Mifune's very first film with Kurosawa so it should be a great fit in this

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow 'Se ying diu sau' (1978)
Dir: Woo-Ping Yuen Country: Hong Kong 1h 30min Hashtag A young, pre-Hollywood Jackie Chan?? Hell yeah!

Tears of the Black Tiger 'Fah talai jone' (2000)
Dir: Wisit Sasanatieng Country: Thailand 1h 50min Jiraffejustin Been over a decade since I first saw this. The color scheme in this is almost hallucinogenic (in a glorious way). Looking forward to this revisit

Chocolate (2008)
Dir: Prachya Pinkaew Country: Thailand 1h 50min PahaK This is an unknown and when I checked it out, something told me to watch the trailer. . . and HOL-EEE SH#T I am SO gonna enjoy this Thailand Action Flick!!

Paprika 'Papurika' (2006)
Dir: Satoshi Kon Country: Japan 1h 30min Rbrayer This has been on my Watchlist for EVER. YAY

Daimajin (1966)
Dir: Kimiyoshi Yasuda Country: Japan 1h 24min Siddon What looks like the first of a trilogy this should be a very interesting watch. I was a huge fan of the Giant Monster films as a kid and this looks like it has some serious gravitas to it.

Hanagatami (2017)
Dir: Nobuhiko Ôbayashi Country: Japan 2h 49min Ueno_station54
Don't believe I've ever seen an Ôbayashi so this should be a wonderful introduction

Dust in the Wind 'Liàn liàn fengchén' (1986)
Dir: Hou Hsiao-hsien Country: Taiwan 1h 49min Wyldesyde Another unknown that I'll have the pleasure of discovering.
What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue:
Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer.

Mother / 마더 (2009)
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho
Starring: Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin, Jin Goo

Mother is a slow moving film that is as much about it's titular character's growing desperation as it is about the murder mystery at its centre. It can be tense and unnerving at times, but as with many of Joon-ho's other films, it still contains the occasional dose of dark humour that is a little more obvious in the first act than later on. The film starts strong, then meanders a little in the middle, before closing with a strong finish. The first time I watched it, I found it so compelling that I didn't even notice that the central character was never given a name.

Kim Hye-ja's performance as the unnamed mother is simply fantastic. Her character's commitment to her son is the driving force behind the plot, and as such Hye-ja carries the bulk of the film's emotional weight on her shoulders. While the mystery she is attempting to unravel is interesting enough in its own right, it is the mother's plight that captivated me throughout the film. It's hard not to sympathize with the poor, single mother who, though a little overbearing, clearly loves her son.

The son's mental disability is never fully explained, but I don't think giving the audience his diagnosis would change anything. He's clearly a little naïve, and has issues with recollection and handling unexpected and stressful moments. The first scene at the police station is evidence that he'll agree with an incorrect version of events when someone else leads him into them, and that is all that is needed to set up his later situation. I appreciate the manner in which the story is told, and the unexpected turns it takes to set it apart from the typical thriller.

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Life as a shorty shouldn't be so rough
Rashomon - Seen this about a year ago, but I'm down to watch this again. It'll probably be near the last thing I watch for this as I want fresh stuff first. It is great, but not near the top of my favorite Kurosawa films.

Black Rain - I've been meaning to see some Shohei Imamura films, but I thought I was going to start with Vengeance is Mine. Maybe this will be a pleasant surprise. Looks very heavy.

Mother - Been on my radar probably since it came out, just never gotten to it. I was in the mood for South Korean thriller last night, my brother is here visiting and had never seen Oldboy, so we watched that. Mother was an option I passed over.

Drunken Angel - Much like Hitchcock films, I know that I will eventually see them all, I just don't know what order. This one has been rattling around my watchlist for awhile, but probably more towards the mid-priority than top-priority behind Stray Dog and a couple others.

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow - I'm down for some Kung Fu.

Tears of the Black Tiger - I nominated this mainly because I wanted a reason to watch it again. It's pretty crazy, I hope others like it too.

Chocolate - I know of it, but I don't think I would have really ever gotten to it unless I decided I wanted to take a deeper dive specifically into Thai films. I'm usually pretty happy about films like that when they pop up in one of these, as they often are worthwhile.

Paprika - I really dug this one when I saw it several years ago. Looking forward to it again. I've also been meaning to get around to Perfect Blue as well.

Daimajin - I've heard of this film, but just briefly. I don't know that I would have chosen to watch it on my own accord any time soon. I'm open to a fun time with it.

Hanagatami - This was already on the top-priority watchlist. I expect to love this.

Dust in the Wind - Pretty similar feelings to the ones I wrote for Black Rain just replace Shohei Imamura and Vengeance Is Mine with Hsiao-Hsien Hou and A City of Sadness.

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I've only seen 5 so I may try a couple of these out. I saw Black Rain from 89 and thought what the hell that's an American movie until I found the other one.

Rashomon - It's been a long time since I've seen it, and I hope for my own sake I enjoy it more this time around but as of now I'll be keeping its spot at the bottom of the list warm for it, lol.

Black Rain - I've always known about this film because it was the first film Takashi Miike worked on (he was my gateway to non-American film). I've been meaning to watch some Imamura forever now.

Mother - Not a Bong Joon-ho fan really. I liked this when it came out but I don't know if it'll still appeal to me.

Drunken Angel - I do need to see more of Kurosawa's non-jidaigeki stuff.

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow - Want to dig in to this era of martial arts films a lot more. Very hype.

Tears of the Black Tiger - I bought a region 3 DVD of this from a second hand store (even though I don't currently have anything to play it on) just because it looked that cool. High expectations for this one.

Chocolate - I remember seeing this DVD cover all the time at Blockbuster. Should be fun.

Paprika - Very happy to get to revisit this. Paprika rules.

Daimajin - I'd never heard of this but I'm extremely excited for it now.

Hanagatami - I picked this because its my favourite applicable film for this. I hope everyone gets as much out of it as I did and if not sorry for that runtime lmao.

Dust in the Wind - A friend of mine who digs on Taiwanese film big time gave it 3/5 and that's the extent of my knowledge about this film. The poster looks lovely and that's usually enough to sell me on a film.

Looks like mostly cool stuff got picked, I'm looking forward to this.

Mother - Not a Bong Joon-ho fan really. I liked this when it came out but I don't know if it'll still appeal to me.
Which of his other films have you seen? I didn't like The Host or Snowpiercer. Okja was okay. Really liked Parasite though.

Which of his other films have you seen? I didn't like The Host or Snowpiercer. Okja was okay. Really liked Parasite though.
Okja is probably my favourite of his from what I've seen. The Host is alright, Snowpiercer is god-awful and I liked the first half of Parasite well enough.

I've seen The Host and liked it. I seen Snowpiercer and didn't care for it at the time, but I think I was wanting a realistic sci-fi when it was more like a Terry Gilliam film...I should rewatch it one of these days. Still haven't seen Parasite yet.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Parasite was REALLY good. His best of what I've seen, and I'm of the rare breed who liked Snowpiercer. Liked The Host more the second time around. Remember being very caught up with Mother even with the slow pacing of it.

Life as a shorty shouldn't be so rough
You guys should check out Bong Joon Ho's Influenza. It's an interesting short film that is all security camera footage that shows a criminal doing worse and worse sh*t.

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow

My pick for the Hall of Fame. It's not entirely unknown or anything like that, but I wanted to pick something that maybe not many had seen before but something that was also highly entertaining.

Jackie Chan plays a mistreated orphan who comes under the wing of a kung-fu master, but soon has to come to his master's aid with his kung-fu skills. If you have to watch this film for any reason, it's Yuen Woo-ping's fantastic fight choreography (Same fight choreographer as Kill Bill and the Matrix btw): The fights go on for excruciatingly long periods of time but they are never boring, they constantly maintain their excitement with amazingly smooth movement and attacking. Not to forget it's combined with the bizarre sound design, where a thud that plays after every punch makes it sound much more impactful.

Another aspect to why the film is so entertaining is its comedy: Sure it contains a fair bit of the Jackie Chan style comedy within the fights, despite it being quite early in his career, but a lot of the characters are such walking clichés and stereotypes (the spoiled rich kid for example) that you can't help but laugh at it. The most bizarre character and most bizarre element of the film is a white priest that shows up out of nowhere and yells at people for sinning, hilarious stuff. I don't know about you guys, but I like to watch old kung-fu movies with the English dub, the cheesiness of the voice actors adds a whole other scale of entertainment.

I surprisingly have not yet checked out Yuen Woo-ping's much more popular action comedy 'Drunken Master' yet, so I should do that soon.

Also a note to animal lovers: One of the key scenes in the film involves a cat fighting a snake. In some cuts of the film, real footage of a cat fighting a snake is shown. From what I've seen though, most of the versions of the film on YouTube have heavily edited the scene so that no contact between the snake or cat is seen, so you should be fine.

The trick is not minding
In regards to Bong, I loved Parasite, liked The Host (even if I was left scratching my head about how much it is raved about), didn’t care for Barking Dogs Never Bite.

I prefer the more gritty and violent films of Park.

Let's see what we have here...

Rashomon: I may or may not have seen this ages ago. In either case, I don't remember anything about it. I've never seen a bad Kurosawa film, though, so it should be at least OK.

Black Rain: I think I've heard of this before, but I don't know anything except it's related to the Hiroshima bombing.

Mother: Again, don't know anything more than the name and the director. Snowpiercer and The Host are OK. I've also seen Memories of Murder but it's been too long (and I may have it partially mixed with another film).

Drunken Angel: Same as Rashomon, except I'm sure I've never seen this before.

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow: I truly respect Jackie Chan's stunts and athleticism, but I haven't exactly enjoyed his movies. I haven't seen his old stuff in like 30 years or something, though, so maybe my opinion will change now.

Tears of the Black Tiger: Never heard of this one. It appears to be a comedy, so it may not be for me. It sort of looks interesting though, and it's definitely the first Thai western I'm going to see.

Chocolate: My nomination. Great martial arts action (especially towards the end), likable/sympathetic main, and a small cute girl kicking ass. what's not to like. And @Citizen Rules might consider changing the length to 92 minutes (110 min is, according to IMDb, a Thai version but I've never seen such in reality - even the blu ray only has the shorter one).

Paprika: Again, a familiar name but not much else. Oh, I was pretty sure it's anime and it looks like I was right.

Daimajin: Never heard of this. Too few HoFs have films about giant living stone statues, though, so at least this one's cleared for that.

Hanagatami: Nope, never heard of this one. It's long, though, so hopefully it's good too.

Dust in the Wind: Never heard of this either. No apparent joke comes to mind either.

Looks like a fun line-up with a good portion of stuff I'd never seen otherwise.

...Chocolate: My nomination. Great martial arts action (especially towards the end), likable/sympathetic main, and a small cute girl kicking ass. what's not to like.

And @Citizen Rules might consider changing the length to 92 minutes (110 min is, according to IMDb, a Thai version but I've never seen such in reality - even the blu ray only has the shorter one).
Sure I can change that. BTW I should tell everyone that I did find a link in Thai with English subs, in case someone needs it.

Chocolate (2008)

I've always been a fan of martial arts films. It's probably the most long-lived cinematic passion I have, and while it's been overtaken by a love for horror, these films still have a special place in my heart. It's a physical brand of film-making that's often at its best when you can feel the actors hurting. That's what generally separates western films from Far Eastern ones; the crazy stunts where people put their health and life at stake.

Besides the fights, you usually need a sympathetic hero or someone likable for the hero to defend (Steven Seagal manages without this, but he's a special case). JeeJa Yanin's portrayal of an autistic girl trying to get money for her mother's hospital bill is sympathetic for sure. Acting, in general, is above average for an action film like this, but JeeJa is easily the star.

The action in Chocolate is a mix of Thai-style Pinkaew created in his earlier films (Ong-bak being the most famous) and Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. JeeJa being this small lady, the fights require a dose of suspension of belief. She does a great job with the fights, though, and especially the ones later in the film are amazing. As usual, there are some bloopers at the start of the end credits that show how much it hurts to make a film like this.

On the negative side, the main villain of Chocolate is bland and forgettable. Also, the introduction is a tad too long. Production values are clearly lower than, for example, The Man from Nowhere that was in the 24th HoF. Overall, the positives far outweigh the negatives (for me, at least), and Chocolate is one of my favorite action films of this century.

大魔神 (1966)
aka Daimajin

I love how the Japanese don't care about genre restrictions, be it music or movies or, presumably, any form of art. Daimajin is, at the same time, a samurai epic, a kaiju horror, and a fantasy adventure with the most cliched plot of an evil usurper and a righteous heir in exile (sort of). While the result may not be great, it's quite entertaining and definitely charming.

The production values are good for an obvious B-movie. I suppose samurai films were so popular that costumes and sets and props were abundant. But even the more unique aspects are well-made. The mountain hideout and the nearby statue look good, and once the god awakens, it's surprisingly effective and lifelike in its rampage. I was a little disappointed by the lack of blood, but maybe this was meant to be a family-friendly film.

I don't know what else to say. Daimajin is an interesting mix of genres, and I wouldn't have watched it without this HoF. It'll never be my favorite, but it was definitely worth a watch. While it's not exactly my kind of movie, it's exactly the kind of nomination I love.