RED SORGHUM (Zhang Yimou, 1987)

Telling the story of his grandparents, the invisible narrator introduces an element of modesty to Hong gao liang, Zhang Yimou’s most immodest directorial debut. Pitched between rambunctious family fable and exotic fairy tale, this brash film is full of raucous humor in its first movements. Young Nine (Gong Li, adorable here, but soon to become […]

SHE WAS LIKE A WILD CHRYSANTHEMUM (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1955)

Probably the most beautifully composed and shot of all Japanese films, writer-director Keisuke Kinoshita’s elegiac, powerful Nogiku no gotoki kimi nariki is based on a novel by Sachio Ito. Rigorous, intensely evocative (it lacks the free-flowing sentimentality of Kinoshita’s 1954 Twenty-Four Eyes), this jewel resonates on three different levels of import, each deepening the other […]