Bruce Lee is at his most awe-inspiringly ferocious in this blistering follow-up to his star-making turn in The Big Boss, which turned out to be an even greater success than its predecessor. Set in 1910s Shanghai, Fist of Fury casts Lee as a marital arts student who, after his revered master is murdered by a rival dojo of Japanese imperialists, sets out to defend the honor of both his school and of the Chinese people, with his fatal punch his preferred weapon of choice. Elevating Lee to a hero of near folkloric proportions, this historical revenge fantasy blends its stunning action set pieces with a strong anti-colonialist statement and a potent dose of the fierce cultural pride which the actor embodied.
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema.
“No one sees anything. Ever. They watch, but they don’t understand.” So observes Connie Nielsen in Olivier Assayas’s hallucinatory, globe-spanning Demonlover, a postmodern neonoir thriller and media critique in which nothing—not even the film itself—is what it appears to be.
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An intoxicating, time-bending experience bathed in the golden glow of oil lamps and wreathed in an opium haze, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s gorgeous period reverie traces the romantic intrigue, jealousies, and tensions swirling around a late 19th century Shanghai brothel, where the courtesans live confined to a gilded cage, ensconced in opulent splendor yet forced to work to buy back their freedom.