Author Rowena Santos Aquino

Film lecturer at CSULB. Transnational, multilingual, migratory cinephilia.

Reviews abd4ee747587629d90d68201aabc9a84

Within Hong Sang-soo’s filmography, his latest film Right Now, Wrong Then is nothing new. In their structural and situational similarities (as well as cast), Hong’s films pose a challenge to the critic; one runs the risk of repeating oneself. What follows below has surely been expressed by countless others in their own engagements with Hong’s …

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With simple lyrics of aspiration and utopian spaces, the Village People’s 1973 song ‘Go West’ conveys a youthful, optimistic energy. Filtered through the Pet Shop Boys’ pop dance/electronica lens in 1993, the song’s anthem nature increases ten-fold, particularly in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall and, hence, the end …

Reviews Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 10.11.35 PM

Lost in Hong Kong is the concluding film of a ‘lost’ or ‘journey’ trilogy begun in 2010 with Lost on Journey. The first film in the series was directed by Raymond Yip and stars Xu Zheng and Wang Baoqiang as a businessman and migrant worker, respectively, who encounter each other – and comically frustrate and foil each other in the …

Reviews Go Away Mr Tumor

Yet another big commercial hit for actress Bai Baihe, this time directed by Yan Han, Go Away Mr. Tumor is much like its title: a balancing act of comedy and drama and the extremes of each one, as a young woman finds abruptly that she has non-Hodgkin’s…

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The story itself is perhaps straightforward enough within the martial arts genre: in ninth-century China, during the Tang Dynasty, a young woman named Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi), daughter of the late general of Weibo province, has trained as an assassin since childhood. She sets forth back into the world to kill her cousin Tian Ji’an (Chang Chen) …

Reviews 44605fe85f8d390ce629aa01a60cf1c1

With the Election diptych (2005-2006) and Life Without Principle (2011), To’s latest film is a continuing look at the politics of power and profit in the Hong Kong of the new millennium, from various sectors/perspectives of society. Election and Election 2 look closely at the world of the triads and the cutthroat processes and traditional rituals of …

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After a series of dictatorships during the twentieth century, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated the country of Haiti in 2010, the same year in which a general election was going to take place. Against this tumultuous backdrop, Ben Patterson’s documentary debut presents the coming together of an unlikely duo who would spearhead the rebuilding of the country through the general election: rapper Pras Michel, one of the co-founders of The Fugees, and Michel …

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The Vanished Elephant begins with crime novelist Edo Celeste (Salvador del Solar) concluding the serial tales of his detective character Felipe Aranda. Yet as he wraps up the fictional world that he has constructed, irony of ironies, he finds before long that the mystery has only begun in the real world when a series of events ties him back to the unsolved disappearance of his fiancee seven years ago. Celeste, whose instincts have been shaped as a writer and …

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