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Asian Films

Here are a few of the many foreign films available in the Film and Audio Department of the Main Library. Please also check out the films being shown this year at the Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival here in Pittsburgh.

China - India - Iran - Japan - Turkey


Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002) - Set in the early 1970s during the later stages of China's Cultural Revolution, two city-bred teenage best friends are sent to a backward mountainous region for Maoist re-education.

Farewell, My Concubine (1993) - Story that spans more than 50 years in the lives of two men at the Peking Opera, friends since childhood, and the woman who comes between them. Also an absorbing drama of the period in Chinese history from the warlord era through the Cultural Revolution.

Kung Fu Hustle (2004) - Sing, a hapless gangster, must overcome his inability to wield a knife and demonstrate his mettle in order to become a member of the notorious Axe Gang. He realizes he is the greatest kung fu master of them all, destined to protect the sacred streets.

The Story of Qiu Ju (1993) - A stoic peasant woman demands an apology when her husband is kicked in the groin by the village chief. But the Chief is a proud man who refuses to apologize, sending her on a futile trek through the complicated Chinese court system.

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Lagaan (2001) - Set in Queen Victoria's India, this is a story about a battle without bloodshed fought by a group of unlikely hereos. Will a game of cricket stop three years of lagaan (tax) for the Indian people?

Maya (2001) - For Maya and her cousin Sanjay, life is simple in rural India. However, their fraternal love is shattered when Maya's journey to becoming a woman results in her being the victim of an ancient and brutal ritual, tragically ending her childhood innocence and scarring her for life.

Salaam Bombay! (1988) - Krisha, a ten year old boy, has been abandoned in Bombay by his mother. He tries to earn money to go home while he lives in the streets.

Vanaprastham (1999) - Kunhikuttan is a Kathakali performer in a loveless marriage. When he meets and falls in love with Subhadra, a beautiful woman of a higher caste, they begin a love affair which is doomed from the start.

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Baran (2001) - At a Tehran construction site, a 17-year-old Iranian, named Lateef is known for his antics more than his hard work. When an Afghan coworker falls off the building, the son of the deceased, Rahmat, rises to the occasion as the provider of the family.

The Day I Became a Woman (2000) - Three portraits of women at three stages of life in Iran, including a nine-year-old girl told she can no longer play with boys because she is now a "woman", a young woman who enters a bicycle race against her husband's wishes, and an old woman who gains money and the freedom to do what she wishes with it.

Kluzap (1990) - True story of Hossain Sabzian, an unemployed movie buff who finds himself mistaken for the enigmatic director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The misunderstanding takes on a life of its own and Sabzian ends up in jail where his trial is filmed by Kiarostami, blurring the lines between documentary and drama. Many of the people involved in the incident play themselves in the film.

Taste of Cherry (1997) - Mr. Badii, ceaselessly driving through the red-brown hills around Tehran in search of assistance in his suicide, receives from each of the men he asks for help a viewpoint on life.

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Audition (1999) - A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition for a phony film, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all and the widower becomes drawn into her sadistic and vengeful world.

Gate of Hell (1953) - The story of a samurai who falls in love with a married woman he guards during a palace uprising. She is horrified by his attentions and his love leads to tragic consequences. Based on a real crime committed in Japan in 1159.

Happiness of the Katakuris (2001) - Loosely based on the Korean black comedy Quiet Family, this extraordinary genre-bending remake tells the story of a modern dysfunctional family and their shared dream of opening an inn in the country. Despite all their best efforts, the inn has the unfortunate habit of attracting guests who all turn up dead in the morning.

Onibaba (1964) - An impoverished mother and her daughter-in-law eke out a lonely, desperate existence. In order to survive in feudal Japan, they are forced to murder lost samurai and sell their belongings for grain, then dump their corpses down a deep, dark hole.

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Distant (2002) - When a successful photographer's wife leaves him, he falls into an existential crisis. His cousin from a small village comes to live with him to get a better job. The two are total opposites and have a hard time adjusting to each other's habits.

Head-On (2004) - A melodrama of a Turkish man and woman living in Germany, torn between two cultures, tradition and modernity, survival and death.

Journey of Hope (1990) - A poor Kurdish family in Turkey struggles to reach their promised land, Switzerland.

The Turkish Bath (1995) - Francesco, a successful designer from Rome, arrives in Istanbul to dispose of an inheritance left him by an aunt he never knew. Once there he discovers that the property is a hamam, a traditional Turkish steam bath.

Created 4/19/2007.

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