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Movie Picture A romantic triangle erupts in a bombed-out small town in the years between World War Two and the Maoist revolution. Liyan (Wu Jan) suffers from ennui-infused illness while his wife by an arranged marriage, Yuen (Hu Jingfan) wiles away her time shopping, wandering the cliffs, and doing needlepoint. Along comes Zuyen (Xin Baiqing), Liyan's old friend, now a modern Shangai doctor. It turns out Yuen and Zuyen were once in love years ago, but as they tentatively try to rekindle the romance they find themselves frozen by self consciousness, cultural traditions, and affection for the ailing Liyan. Meanwhile, Liyan's energetic younger sister (Si Si Lu) develops a huge crush on Zuyen herself, and Liyan tries to arrange their marriage.

A highlight here is the lovely cinematography by Mark Lee Ping-bin (IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE), a model of compositional elegance as the camera moves in perfect counterpoint with the actors among the bombed out ruins and stark landscape. A remake of a 1948 classic of Chinese cinema, this marks a return to directing for Zhuangzhuang Tian, who was banned from directing in China for ten years after 1994's THE BLUE KITE. It's a subtle allegory of a China stifled by its slavish devotion to outmoded, dying traditions. At least the characters manage to find some joy with songs and drinking games.

Movie Picture Michael Haneke's TIME OF THE WOLF is an emotionally riveting film that takes place in post-apocalyptic rural France. Keeping the film at a constantly tense level even though the characters are for the most part calm and logical, Haneke has mastered the art of controlling his audience. Viewers will find it hard to look away from the screen--or even move in their seats--as they sit frozen by the powerful performances of Isabelle Huppert and Anais Demoustier. The story follows a family of four who load up their supplies and retreat from Paris after a disaster leaves the water contaminated and livestock sickened, causing the government to put sanctions of food and fuel. Arriving at their country house, the family is attacked, their patriarch is murdered, and their supplies are stolen, leaving Anne (Huppert), Eva (Demoustier) and the fragile young Ben (Lucas Biscombe) to wander the bleak countryside in a fervent search for justice and protection. Settling into a makeshift commune in a railroad station, the threesome struggle to make it through each day among chaos, prostitution and rape, competitive barter for food and water, and long episodes of their companions screaming or sobbing. Depressing and frightening, yet totally compelling, TIME OF THE WOLF is a myth with epic feeling. Most of the action takes place off-screen as the protagonists react, and this method of storytelling infuses the film with natural suspense. The result is one great big deep and eerie shiver.

Movie Picture Gangsters. Job loss. Thai Boxing. A noodle box full of money. These are the essential ingredients peppered throughout 6IXTYNIN9, which combine to leave a delicious and satisfying taste in the mouth once consumed. Tum (Lalita Panyopas) discovers the box of loot on her doorstep one morning while trying to recover from being fired from her job. Attempting to do the right thing for herself, she conceals the cash and hopes she'll be able to spend it without the real owners ever finding out that she has it. Big mistake. For Tum finds herself caught up in the whirlwind lifestyle of some Thai Boxing gangsters, who are keen to rekindle their missing money. A wonderfully incisive comedy from director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, 6IXTYNIN9 is the perfect illustration of a Thai film industry that finds itself flourishing at the start of the 21st century.