Fri, Aug 27, 2004 - Page 20 News List

The horror! Three Asian films tackle some sick movie themes

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

A woman gets her fingers chopped in Cut. But clearly that's not her only problem.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MATA ENTERRTAINMENT

Horror movies are still hip? At least the three directors in Three -- Experiences (三更二), the sequel of well-sold Three (三更) try to believe so. The three segments may not be so scary for those looking for terror sensations. But each tries to be a sophisticated story, rather than a hyper-gory picture.

Box, by Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike, is a visually beautiful story about love and jealousy. Kyoko Hasegawa is a sick, beautiful novelist who obviously carries with her a deep fear about a past of tragedy, which reflects in her constant nightmares of being suffocated with a plastic bag.

Back in her childhood, she and the sister were acrobats in a local circus in northern Japan. The climax of their performances is when the two skinny little girls crouch in two small boxes and their stepfather -- the lead performer -- shoots darts at the boxes.

But whenever the show finishes, the father compliments one sister only, leaving Kyoko in despair.

Dumpling by Fruit Chan (陳果) continues Chan's sarcasm about the poverty gap in Hong Kong society. In the sequence it is darker than his previous films.

Mrs. Lee (Miriam Yeung, 楊千嬅) is a bored housewife of a rich businessman. She finds in the back alleys of Kowloon the most expensive dumpling in Hong Kong.

This segment features the excellent acting of Bai Ling (白靈), the dumpling seller from Shenzhen, China, and the sophisticated cinematography illustrates the delicacy and the interesting process of making the dumplings. But the story behind rejuvenation is too scary and a bit far-fetched.

The South Korean sequence, Cut, features one of the most exaggerated performances among the three. The story is a Catch-22 situation, in which a rich and successful film director and his wife are kidnapped. He is strapped in the corner of the house and she is tied by the piano. The terrorist gives him two choices: to strangle an innocent young stranger the terrorist brings, or to watch his wife have her fingers cut off one by one.

Film Notes

Directed by: Takashi Miike, Fruit Chan, Chan-wook Park

Starring: Kyoko Hasegawa, Miriam Yeung, Byung-hun Lee

Running time: 100 minutes

Taiwan Release: Aug. 27


The thrill of the story of course focuses on his choice, also the moments the beautiful wife becomes fingerless.

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