5 unusual St-Valentine Films

for Cinetalk.net

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Lets pretend you are a film student and you love film as an Art but you anticipate this St-valentine moment when your love interest asks to see a corny love film… Here’s some suggestions on the subject, out of the ordinary, that hopefully may please you both…

 

Failan

In this South Korean film from 2001, Kangjae (played by Old Boy leading man Min-Sik Choi), a pitiful small crook, learns of the death of Failan, his wife he never met since their marriage was arranged as part of a scam for easy money. Because of this unexpected and sudden death, the criminal organisation who closed the deal, with help from city clerks, want Kangjae to go to the country and attend the funeral in order to make things more convincing. They even provide him with a complete file on the girl. During the voyage, going through the files of the deceased, he gradually falls for her. Through the dreams of this impossible love, he slowly becomes a better man…

Love on film is rarely as original as in this surprisingly well written film about the love of love itself. This is a refreshingly original take on love, superbly directed and edited and director Hae-Sung Song reinvents love film in an unusual way. Beautiful.

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Last life in the universe

A neat suicidal Japanese man, played by Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer , Gohatto, Thor), with a haunting past, comes across a beautiful Thai woman who’s a slacker and a pot smoker. Opposite slowly attracted each others, but his past comes back at him…

As it unfolds the mysteries around the protagonists and eventually their growing love, Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang stylish touch is at work. This is a beautifully shot (by talented Won Kar Wai cinematographer Christopher Doyle) piece of film making. The whole thing is about pacing and climax. And it works. As a bonus, the film also stars infamous Japanese director Takashi Miike.

Mr Nobody

In 2092, 118 year old Nemo is recalling his past life (and alternate life paths)at age nine, sixteen and thirty-four. Infinite possibilities arise from various decisions and anything is possible.

Beyond the philosophical and sci-fi themes of this 2009 film,
the study of Belgian director Jaco van Dormael on teen love is rarely that beautiful in movies. His ways are unusually charming and images beautifully crafted. The respectful view on love at 15 is what makes Mr Nobody a real rarity in the medium of cinema and a real film about Love. As simple as that.

Portrait of jennie

A struggling artist from the great depression era, searching for inspiration, finds a Muse with a pretty but odd young girl in this very fine and beautiful piece of 1940’s Hollywood craftsmanship.

Between romance and fantasy, this picture offers a great match on screen with actors Jennifer Jones and Joseph cotton (he won the Best actor Award at the Venice film Festival). This is one of German born director William Dieterle great films and is also the last film shot by great cinematographer Joseph H. August who died before the end of production receiving a posthumous Oscar nomination. Lee Garmes finished shooting the film and the Black and white imagery, often dreamlike is gorgeous.

Punch drunk love

A troubled young man (Adam Sandler) on the verge of a nervous break down ,  constantly confronted by his seven sisters, starts a romance with an English woman (Emily Watson) while being extorted by a phone-sex line company run by a crook (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

Like always, American director P.T. Anderson (who won the Best director Award at Cannes for this film) surrounds himself with a great ensemble cast and frequent technical collaborators Jon Brion, on music, and Cinematographer Robert Elswit. Both did an amazing job. Anderson pushes the envelop, behind a seemingly simple story, to explore the form and experiment a lot with sound and Lights in a colorful and creative way.

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