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“The last two weeks I’ve written a beginners guide to Asian cinema, I originally planned to include this but thought it would perhaps suit it’s own standalone place. More next week though!”

Hayao Miyazaki and chums over at Studio Ghibli have shown the world that Japanese animation can be ultra stylish and stories don’t have to involve underage hareems and panty shots. However Studio Ghibli to your every day anime is more like comparing Walt Disney Pictures to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Movies are a different world compared to their TV counterparts.

The problem with anime is that it has a bad image. There is a sea of almost perverted stories or tales of a boy so strong he fights with other… strong people or equally ridiculous ordeals. However these are stories from another culture, a whole other style of life, style of thinking and most of all a whole other style ir story telling, it just takes a little thought to find something that wont make you vomit.

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As confusing it may be trying to expand your cinema horizons, nothing is more mind boggling than actually finding the damn things to watch. It’s rare that we get screenings in the western world, unless you’re lucky enough to be in the vicinity of an independent cinema or Jackie Chan releases a new film.

This is going to be a resonably short article, however I’m going to outline a few places/names/other stuff to look out for on your DVD shopping trip.

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Gymnastics concluded tonight at the Beijing Olympics

Men took the floor first on the parallel bars, where China dominated in the form of Li Xiaopeng.  South Korea’s Yoo Won-Chultook silver and Uzbekistan’s Anton Fokintook bronze.  Fokin became the first gymnast to ever win a medal for Uzbekistan.  After all the men had received their scores, Fokin raised his hand in the air and made a one with his index finger, showing that even if he came in third, he still considered himself a champion.  Continue Reading »

“Wasted Orient” by Jack

Wasted Orient is a pretty raw film. Kevin Fritz’ only directorial venture to date, Wasted Orient documents the first tour of struggling Chinese punk rock band Joyside. Struggling is an understatement, although they have a growing fanbase, a manager and the ‘punk’ attitude, the members of Joyside live in a poor section of Beijing, after moving there to start a band.

Lives riddled with alcohol, tobacco and a violent temperament Bian, Yang, Fan, Liu and Xin board a train and travel to various provinces of China in their break-through tour. We are given snippets about their life, their thoughts and their punk dreams along the way. It is often confusing whether what we are seeing is deluded wannabes playing up to the camera or a group of people hellbent on their dreams and pressing through regardless of their hardships.

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Chinas He Kexin celebrates her gold medal for uneven bars.  American Nastia Liukin received silver, although she and He both earned the exact same score.

China's He Kexin celebrates her gold medal for uneven bars. American Nastia Liukin received silver, although she and He both earned the exact same score.

The Olympic gymnastics individual event finals, currently underway in Beijing, have already sparked controversy on more than one occasion, although they only began yesterday.

Talk of judging errors and judges’ incompetency developed on the crest of an already controversial wave sweeping through Beijing:  that of the alleged age of the Chinese women’s team.

The media has made comments suggesting some of the Chinese women do not truly meet the rule that states a gymnast must be 16 years of age or turn 16 during the games in order to compete.  Bela Karolyi, who has coached his fair share of champions, insinuated the Chinese government provides inaccurate passports to their gymnasts so they can compete.

With the age argument already brewing, the judges came under attack during the first two nights of women’s individual events finals.  Night 1 brought problems at the vault.  Alicia Sacramone, a 20-year-old Continue Reading »

Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin during the medal ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Womens Gymnastics Team Competition.  The US received silver.

Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin during the medal ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Women's Gymnastics Team Competition. The US received silver and would not taste gold until Liukin won the individual competition.

Nastia Liukin joined today the ranks of Mary Lou Retton and Carly Patterson when she won the Olympic gold medal for Women’s Individual All-Around Gymnastics.  The 18-year-old Moscow-born Texan stood slightly taller than teammate Shawn Johnson and China’s Yang Yilin when she accepted the first gold medal awarded to the United States for gymnastics at Beijing.  Both the American men and women had achieved only silver until tonight.

Liukin and Johnson secured the first Olympic gold-silver finish for the United States.  The girls were favored to place tonight, although the Chinese performance in the team competitions demonstrated the Americans would not win easily.

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It’s always a daunting prospect discovering a new type of Cinema, the world can be a confusing place when you are being recommended things to watch left, right and centre or you just don’t have a clue as to what to watch. Trust me I’ve been there, so I’ve decided to write a little guide for anyone wanting to expand their tastes.

I should really make it clear that when I say Asian I mean East Asian (Japan, China, Korea, Thailand etc.) and not Southern Asian (India, Bangladesh, Iran etc.). Also, I really want you the reader to view this as a more open subject. If you really think a piece of Cinema is important enough for others to view let us all know.

In part one I’m going to introduce a few “entrance” movies. Nothing too violent, nothing too obscure and most importantly a good representation of culture. Aww here goes:

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