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A collection of three “shorts” (not really, 40 minutes each, very good length actually in my opinion!) by three of Asia’s most exciting directors:

I have seen “Jiaozi / Dumplings” by Fruit Chan before, actually, when it premiered at Berlin Film Festival in feature length, and the memories of that particular screening will never wane, as I was sitting next to (NEXT TO) the film’s frighteningly beautiful star Bai Ling (oh so fragile and white skinned, the scent of perfume and … never mind…). I am sure she was 65 at the time, but looked like a stunning 27. Why that is we learn in the film, which reveals some depths about human vanity few ever cared to learn about. Very disturbing! (Oh and she was wearing this glittering nothingness of a dress, providing hints on this and that that are still haunting me.. Stop it!).

Anyway… Park Chan-Wook: Cut! Park (of Lady Vengeance, Mr Vengeance and most prominently Oldboy fame) is maybe the most achieved of the three directors here in terms of directorial style. He throws you into a beautifully crafted film set which, we will learn, is build on the model of this film-in-film director’s own home. Returning back to this home is what starts his misery, as he finds an intruder in his house, who is seeking revenge for … well, no, should not give it away, as it is part of the absurdity of this piece. It is a cruel story, of cruel choices imposed on our “hero”, and do I say too much when I say that some choices are just too hard to make without causing serious damage.

Takashi Miike’s (Audition, 13 Assassins) “Box” does have something of a plot, but at the end of the day it is more of an allegorical statement on guilt and jealousy. It (maybe) deals with the memories of a former circus artist (one of those little girls who can bend their tiny bodies to fit into impossibly small boxes), tortured by the guilt about her sister’s fate. As it pans out, there is plenty more to it, more allegory maybe, or more nightmares.

These three films team up almost perfectly in their differing aesthetics, morale and approaches to disturbing the audience. All three are seriously disturbing, but – thank God! – not in a “Hostel” way. These are serious cinematic achievements, they dig deep into humanity and its flaws, and do provide neither easy remedy nor catharsis. I love them for that!

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/threeextremes/

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