Resource of the Week: Frozen

Not the Frozen you’re thinking of. A heartbreaking tale from the Chinese avant-garde counterculture, Frozen – literal translation from its original title: Extreme Cold – is the story of a young artist who decides to make an artistic statement out of his own suicide by freezing himself in a public place in a large block of ice. He calls his challenge against the coldness of Chinese society “Funeral on Ice.”  The film, based on a true story, sparked debate on the right to die, was banned in China, and was so controversial that the creator of the film has not revealed who he is, and is credited under the pseudonym Wu Ming (No Name).

Review written by Alexander Criswell

Resource of the Week: Soul Kitchen

A recipe for laughter! Soul Kitchen tells the story of one hapless Hamburg restaurant owner, Zinos. After changing chefs – and in consequence losing his entire customer base, his girlfriend Nadine moving to China, his lawless brother on parole, and the health inspector on his case, Zinos throws caution to the wind. He buys a plane ticket to Shanghai and leaves his malcontent of a brother in charge of the restaurant. Predictably – and hilariously – everything goes terribly wrong. Soul Kitchen is a funny film with a fantastic soundtrack, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a laugh.

Review written by Alexander Criswell

Resource of the Week: The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club is an emotional look at the lives and relationships of Chinese-American women. Told in flashbacks, the film is the story of four mother-daughter pairs throughout the mothers’ lives in China and their daughters’ lives in America. Theirs is a story of love and heartbreak, perseverance and adversity, hope and loss. The Joy Luck club is critically acclaimed and I highly recommend it.

Review written by Alexander Criswell

Resource of the Week: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Two young men, two young women, a father, a mighty king, his bride to be, the faerie King and Queen of the woods, and a ragtag group of unskilled laborers cross paths with hilarious results in this adaptation of William Shakespeare’s well-loved comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The special effects of the silver screen bring this play to life in an entirely different fashion than on stage, and make for a delightful viewing experience. Michael Hoffman has done an excellent job adapting a classic, and this film comes highly recommended.

Review written by Alexander Criswell

Resource of the Week: Destiny

Destiny, a film by Youssef Chanine is many things at once. An adventure, a musical, a romance… but perhaps most importantly a statement on the clash between hate and love, fundamentalism and rationalism, fear and acceptance. Set in the 12th century, Destiny concerns itself with the journey of a follower of the great philosopher Ibn Rushd (latinized: Averroes,) who wrote of the value of rational thought and openness to the interpretation of the Koran. Enraged by this so-called heresy, the fundamentalists began burning Ibn Rushd’s works… and the young follower takes up the mantle of preservation, attempting to smuggle the philosopher’s works out of Andalusia before they are all destroyed. Touching and beautiful, Destiny carries a message of compassion and open-mindedness that is as relevant today as it was in 1997 when the film was released or even in 12th century Andalusia when Ibn Rushd first set pen to parchment.

Review written by Alexander Criswell