Reign of Assassins (Jianyu) (2010) Film.Director : Chao-Bin Su

Set in ancient China, Zeng Jing is a skilled assassin who finds herself in possession of a mystical Buddhist monk’s remains. She begins a quest to return the remains to its rightful resting place, and thus places herself in mortal danger because a team of assassins is in a deadly pursuit to possess the remains which holds an ancient power-wielding secret.(Imdb)

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Budrus (2009) Film. Director : Julia Bacha

First shown at the Bubai International Film Festival, this documentary then went on to win many awards at lots of other different film festivals. They are the Tribeca Film Festival, Jerusalem International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival and the SILVERDOCS Documentary Festival and the New York Times recommended it as a “must see”. The languages are Arabic, Hebrew, English and some parts of the documentary have English subtitles.
The documentary is about a Palestinian village called Budrus, and the opposition to build a wall to separate the Israelis from the Palestinians. The wall is called the Israeli West Bank barrier, it is not just a fence, it’s a security barrier and it’s something that the villagers don’t want. The wall will take much of their land away and also destroy a few thousand olive trees, which provide an income for many people, and so would alter the economy of the village. (This all happened at the begining of this century, 2000). Budrus is a village (population, approximately 1,500), where Israelis and Palestians live together in harmony, so the erection of the wall, would divide friends and the community. So they decide to work together, in a peaceful demonstration to save their land and village community, but good intentions don’t always go well, and we see the complications that arise.

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This documentary will be an eye-opener for many Americans. It tells the story of an on-going non-violent protest movement on the West Bank of the Palestinian Territories. The movement has been created and led by Palestinians–a people often portrayed as terrorists or fanatics by the Western media. Some intrepid international activists as well as some Israelis have joined the movement, but the focus of this film is on the Palestinians.

The film portrays the actual protests and the response by the Israeli military. Just as interesting are numerous brief interviews with many people including the leaders of the protests, an Israeli activist and an Israeli military leader on the ground (who I began to suspect was probably later fired, as his comments were damning as well as humorous). Many people might be shocked to see a Hamas member talk about the value of non-violent protest and how he has met progressive Jews whom he now views as comrades. Not a bearded mullah, he is a math teacher.

The protests I believe were filmed in 2003, but this movement against the Israeli theft of Palestinian land continues on the West Bank. Since it is rarely covered by the Western media, this film may be your only chance to get a good look at it. (Imdb)

Luo ye gui gen (Getting Home) (2007) Film. Director : Yang Zhang

Zhao is an ageing worker who toils away in Shenzen in order to earn a living. When his friend and colleague Wang suddenly dies, Zhao decides to transport his body back to his native town. He purchases two tickets for the cross-country bus, and pretends that his silent travelling companion has drunk so much alcohol that he has fallen unconscious. Shortly afterwards, the bus is attacked by armed bandits. Zhao asks the bandits to kill him first, so that he can stay with his dead friend forever. Touched by this display of loyalty, the robbers decide to let the bus go. But instead of thanking Zhao, the other passengers throw him and his dead friend off the bus. Pretending that his friend is seriously ill and must be taken to hospital immediately, Zhao tries to flag down passing cars. After spending the night in a hotel, Zhao discovers that all his money has been stolen and begins to lose heart. But he refuses to be browbeaten. Whenever he needs money, he rearranges Wong so that he looks like a beggar. And whenever he is hungry, he joins a funeral party and bawls his eyes out so that he can enjoy the food served at the wake. During his odyssey across China Zhao is obliged to get along with all kinds of people. Just before he reaches his destination, the old man and his dead friend are caught in a torrential downpour, so that now Zhao finds himself engaged in a struggle against nature. —Berlin International Film Festival

Children of Men (2006) Film. Director : Alfonso Cuarón

The world’s youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set in and around a dystopian London fractious with violence and warring nationalistic sects, Children of Men follows the unexpected discovery of a lone pregnant woman and the desperate journey to deliver her to safety and restore faith for a future beyond those presently on Earth.  (Imdb)

Headshot (2011) Film. Director : Pen-Ek Ratanaruang

Tul, a hitman, is shot in the head during an assignment. He wakes up after a three-month coma to find that he sees everything upside down, literally. Then he meets a girl that turns his world even more upside down. Who was trying to kill him in the first place?

Tul (Nopachai Jayanama) is about to see his world turned upside down. When we first meet him, he’s been sent a package of photos and data, which he examines and then promptly puts through the shredder. He shaves his head, dons a monk’s robes, and walks onto the gated estate belonging to the man in the photos. Tul then takes a pistol and fires a bullet into the man’s neck. More shots are fired, one of them hitting Tul in the head. Everything turns black. When Tul wakes up three months later, all that he sees is inverted. Is it some bizarre brain injury, or some form of karmic retribution? In the disorienting world of Headshot, such questions linger, and draw us closer to its violence and mystery.

Based on Win Lyovarin’s novel Rain Falling Up the Sky, Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Headshot is a noirish thriller about the corruption that infects both contemporary Bangkok and the human spirit. Over the course of the film’s chronologically complex narrative, we come to learn about the extraordinary events that transformed Tul from a straight-laced detective into an assassin working for a group seeking to eliminate all those who deem themselves above the law. Those events involve an unspeakably gorgeous young stranger (who informs Tul right off that she “likes cops”), a bloodied corpse in a tub, a drug bust, an attempted bribe and a book about man’s inherently evil nature, something Tul initially finds curious but gradually begins to feel might be all too true.

Working with his regular cinematographer, Chankit Chamnivikaipong, Pen-ek evokes Tul’s journey into the underworld in unusually muted and dusky tones. Vichaya Vatanasapt’s music gives us a sense of perpetually downward movement. And in Jayanama, with whom the director has now worked twice, Headshot finds its perplexed soul, always struggling to make the closest thing to a moral choice in a deeply immoral world. –TIFF

Bel Ami (2012) Film.Directors: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod

After two years of military service in North Africa ex-sergeant Georges Duroy is now living an impoverished existence in Paris. Willing to do anything to escape his grubby room in the suburbs and, increasingly unscrupulous, he mercilessly exploits influential comrades-in-arms and wealthy women to work his way up the social ladder and into the late nineteenth-century capital’s chicest urbane circles. Sanguine and calculating, he storms bastions of power in the speculative colonial stock-market meanwhile indulging in amorous adventures in the luxurious establishments of the nouveau riche. Paris it seems has been waiting for a man of such dubious political, moral and erotic pursuits.

After several successful adaptations – including Willi Forst’s 1938 version and Louis Daquin’s 1955 interpretation – Bel-Ami Guy de Maupassant’s socially critical novel of 1885 returns to the screen once more. Carefully following the original literary work, Director Declan Donnellan portrays a careerist upstart who ruthlessly exploits the entanglement of politics, economics, media and his private life to his own ends. A glamorous and sarcastic comedy of manners about hypocrisy as one of the fundamental laws in a bourgeois era. –Berlinale