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Fowler’s Flix 09.27.19: Asian Delicacies

Film Movement
Angela Mao takes on an evil general in the classic "The Fate of Lee Khan."
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Asian films, often ripe with passion and poetry, are true cinematic delicacies, a complete feast for the senses that are typically ignored by American audiences that have an irrational fear of things like subtitles. This week’s films, new to DVD and Blu-ray, feature some truly transcendent works of art from the Far East, films that’ll make any stretched silver screen into a gorgeous masterpiece.

Angela Mao is a true legend of 70s Hong Kong cinema, with one of her best films being 1973’s The Fate of Lee Khan (Film Movement). Starring with an mostly-female cast, this classic martial arts flick has the diabolical Lee Khan, a general in the Yuen Dynasty, taking on the Chinese Rebel Army, resistance fighters and, most spectacularly, an undercover girl-gang that doesn’t take guff from anyone, no matter the rank. With choreographed sequences courtesy of Sammo Hung, The Fate… is an important movie in Hong Kong cinema and must be viewed soon if you consider yourself a cinephile.

The recent Chinese near-masterwork of criminal love Ash is Purest White (Cohen Media Group) is a deeply romantic film, albeit one set against the backdrop of the ultraviolent underworld. Qiao (Zhao Tao) is in love with the area’s number one gangster and, during a dirty gangland war, murderously shoots a gun in order to protect him and his love; this act of romantic defense earns her an easy nickel in the pen. When she’s released years later, she goes looking for him, needing to pick up where they left off.

The festival favorite The Third Wife (Film Movement) is pastorally set in 19 th century Vietnam, a period of time in a far-off place that is almost never featured in most films. When a young girl becomes the titular third wife to a wealthy landowner, she quickly learns that, to earn and curry favor, she must give birth to a male child. That sounds easy enough until she starts to have feelings for his second wife. As many stories like this, I’m sure, unravel, it’s ultimately a heartbreaking story of forbidden love and forbidden feelings.

Finally, while technically not from Asia, I would be remiss if I didn’t give the spectacular all-women war flick from the Middle East, Girls of the Sun (Cohen Media Group), at least a quick mention. A battalion of women in Kurdistan fight in a bloody war to free their people as a French journalist keeps a moving camera on the action. It’s a meaningful movie of heroism, but one American would never make, sadly.

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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