No Man’s Land

10/29/2013

Portugal / 2012 / Portuguese

Directed by Salomé Lamas

Still from 'No Man's Land'“I believe in God and Jesus. I think everything else is a lie… and now, about Jesus, I have to think twice.”

A picture of the marriage of raptor and ape, with piercing eyes and heavy strength in his hardened knuckles, he sits comfortably in the interview chair. He folds his arms, shrugs impertinently, and holds masculine postures as he talks without ornamentation. Heavy-mustached, wearing jeans and a sweater, it isn’t obvious that he lives on the streets, drifting on the periphery of the city. Meet Paulo de Figueiredo, a one-time paramilitary in Portuguese Africa, later a hired killer for the Spanish secret police and for the CIA in El Salvador. For him, he says, killing is “like drinking a glass of water.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ju Dou

10/14/2013

China / 1990 / Mandarin

Directed by Zhang Yimou & Yang Fengliang

With Gong Li, Li Baotian, Li Wei

Still from 'Ju Dou'The silk-dyer’s house stands imposingly among the swooping black roofs of an ancient Chinese town. It is 1922. Yang, the silk-dyer, is a middle-aged man, wealthy and established in the community, but who has never sired an heir. Believing he is not the reason for this paucity of family, he forces wife after wife to submit to his abuse. Like kicking a cow who will not produce milk, wife after wife he drives into the ground. This is the way it is going for his new bride, Ju Dou, until unexpectedly, a surrogate son arrives, the dyer’s grown nephew named Tian-qing, whom he had raised years ago. The stage is hastily set for melodrama. Read the rest of this entry »