# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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Durian Durian (2000) Directed by: Fruit Chan

Having finished his trilogy of films dealing with the effects of the 1997 Handover on various Hong Kong inhabitants, Durian Durian opened up the chapter of prostitution on behalf of writer/director Fruit Chan. Not yet a trilogy or even said to be one, it probably will come as a surprise that Durian Durian connects fairly closely to Chan's previous effort (and his masterpiece so far), Little Cheung. Taking place prior to the events of that film, we see Fan (Mak Wai-Fan reprising her role) and her family living illegally in Hong Kong as immigrants waiting for the handover that will lift the restrictions of traveling between Hong Kong and the Mainland. Washing dishes on the street everyday, she also frequently catches glimpses of Mainland prostitute Yan (Qin Hai Lu, who was awarded the Best New Performer award in both Hong Kong and Taiwan). Yan comes to Hong Kong legally, logging 3 months of work to earn money for her future in China. But what awaits in the future really for either of these two?

Viewers familiar with Chan's work will immediately recognize or feel comfortable with the workings of Durian Durian. Again employing Lam Wah-Chuen's talents (cinematography and music), this independent drama walks the dirty back alleys of Hong Kong in a naturalistic, gritty way, allowing the non-professional actors plenty of space to work with. It helps if you're a fan already and there's something oddly fascinating about Chan's almost voyeuristic eye sometimes as the most ordinary details feels unique (such as Yan's problem with dried out skin after too many showers with clients). Repetitive imagery seemingly going nowhere or just being tangents of no particular importance adds nicely to an partly quirky atmosphere. This is all well and good and trademark Fruit Chan but what's the purpose for this one? As with his other films, you'll have to wait until the end credits before everything is clear to the full but Durian Durian despite will be a tester for your patience.

Proceedings are about the tedious motions and cycles of worklife which generates tedious filmmaking as well, a choice I'm pretty much in agreement with as the Hong Kong locale does provide us with glimpses into lives we rarely are allowed to see on film. The shifting of setting to the cold, harsh Northern China does initially feel like a breath of fresh air as we've almost gone 1,5 movie now with the exact same aura Little Cheung possessed. Despite, Yan's story and journey does not so much falter but drags as the drab surroundings in China does beat the movie onto its knees a little bit. The thematic of Yan resigning to her fate and not following through on dreams as everyone urges her to do remains interesting to follow and does come full circle at the end. But again, it's a fairly tedious ride getting there, making Durian Durian one for initiated viewers of Fruit Chan. Not necessarily a bad thing.

And what about the symbolism of the smelly, spiky durian fruit then? Well, I can only come up with feeble theories that goes hand in hand with Chan's thematics of the past. Namely that of outcast characters but with this film it also symbolizes taking next steps, pursuing the roads ahead after struggles etc. For Yan, the durian brings out a contrast in her bravery, leading to her ultimate decision. Whether you like it or not, it's there for the taking. Or maybe it's just a fruit.

The film also bagged a Taiwan Golden Horse Award for Best Picture while Fruit Chan's screenplay was awarded both in Taiwan and Hong Kong

Buy the VCD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

Dust Of Angels (1992) Directed by: Hsu Hsiao-Ming

There's a tedium early on in Hsu Hsiao-Ming's drama, showing weapons deals by the docks that is punctuated by bloody killings. But while achieving an effect and potential intelligence for later usage gets our attention, you soon realize Hsu can offer nothing BUT tedium. You can't build an entire feature on the mundane that occasionally is interspersed with more realistic violence. Ok you can but first you have to somehow make your narrative clear and several long takes of dialogue later, we know nothing of the lead youth characters, who is playing who, their connections etc etc. Dust of Angels does touch upon how this particular Taiwan set gangster world slowly wipes away anyone and everyone and left is youth anarchy which may mean the flick has some effect on those closer to the society it's portraying. The "responsible" adult world seems to contribute nothing, especially not since police is steered by politicians instead but viewer opinion still boils down to the life chosen by youngsters being quite feeble. They show nothing we'd like to sympathize with or that we can comprehend. Hsu Hsiao-Ming may see things differently but that's no reason to see his film. Blacky Ko appears briefly as well as Jack Kao and Chan Chung-Yung (Asian Connection, Her Fatal Ways III).

Dynamite Girls (1987) Directed by: Oliver Limper

Presented complete by Tomas Tang's Filmark, this Thai revenge-actioner mostly has little going for it. Shot at drab, flat and outdoor locations and featuring a lot of gunplay, precious few times this action direction stood out in Thai cinema. Same holds true for this movie. A lot of shooting staged in a stiff manner is not destined to light the screen on fire but the revenge-elements contains some edge. A group of wronged women takes out gangsters one by one and in bursts there's some primal rage and violence on display as well as brief fight action. They are good but hugely sporadic beats in a movie that is quite a chore to sit through.

The Dynamite Trio (1982) Directed by: Danny Cheng

Presented as a full movie by Joseph Lai's IFD, The Dynamite Trio while impressive physically is not something that stands out amongst the plethora of kung-fu comedies being quickly done in the aftermath of Snake In The Eagle's Shadow. It doesn't stick out as a sore thumb thankfully either. Your usual nonsense of a desired kung-fu manual (depicting mantis style) and a bumbling idiot hero turning out to be a hero in the name of revenge later, on their own merits several of the fights are very impressive. The acrobatic ability of lead Mark Long (Mystery Of Chess Boxing) doesn't go wasted but the lighter touches in between the serious, familiar ones are long treks. Mark is simply put not a Jackie Chan and that you need for your movie to break through as a movie of this kind. Also with Lung Fei.

Dynasty (1977) Directed by: Cheung Mei-Gwan

Shot in 3D originally (as was the director's 1977 film The 13 Golden Nuns), Dynasty is all about making noticeable spectacle of the spectacle and gimmick at hand and that it does well. Throwing everything at us including spears, rocks and flying guillotines, even in a 2D version the shots look rather stylish. As for the story with Dorian Tan after revenge and the final opponent being Pai Ying's eunuch, it's entirely unmemorable but still survives on the selling point amazingly enough.

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