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TEN NIGHTS OF DREAMS
Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror
Directors: Takashi Shimizu, Yoshitaka Amano, Kon Ichikawa, Yudai Yamaguchi, Akio Jissoji, Masaaki Kawahara, Suzuki Matsuo, Miwa Nishikawa, Atsushi Shimizu, Keisuke Toyoshima, Nobuhiro Yamashita
Country: Japan
Cast: Kyôko Koizumi, Suzuki Matsuo, Tsuyoshi Ujiki, Umenosuke Nakamura, Keisuke Horibe
DVD Release Date: October 14

I had a dream like this...` Based on renowned Japanese writer Natsume Soseki's same-titled short story collection, Ten Nights of Dreams brings ten fantastical dream sequences to film with great visual and psychological panache. Representing the combined efforts of eleven directors, this outstanding anthology delves into the surreal subconscious with ten madly imaginative, reality-subverting visions that range from wonderfully wacky to nightmarishly unsettling.

The ten shorts are directed by legendary filmmaker Kon Ichikawa, who previously adapted Soseki's Kokoro for film in 1955; Akio Jissoji (Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis, Rampo Noir); horror maestro Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge); Blue Ribbon Best Director Miwa Nishikawa (Yureru); Nobuhiro Yamashita (Linda Linda Linda); actor/director Matsuo Suzuki (Otakus in Love, Welcome to the Quiet Room); J-horror standbys Atsushi Shimizu (The Wish), Keisuke Toyoshima (Tales of Terror), and Yudai Yamaguchi (Battlefield Baseball); and the new directing team of Final Fantasy character designer Yoshitaka Amano and gaming guru Masaaki Kawahara


DEADLY GAME
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Robert Arthur Jansen
Country: Netherlands
Cast: Sander Foppele, Kirsten Walraad, Arno Hazenbroek, Yolanthe van Kasbergen, Negativ, Sebastiaan Labrie
DVD Release Date: October 14

Gamers from all over Holland have gathered at a game convention to find out about the latest game. After the convention, most of the gamers go home, but for a few of them, the night has just begun. They've all received text messages saying that they should stay in the building after everyone has left and play the game. Since the prize money is 1 million euros, they all decide to stay. What they don't know is that the subject of the game is surviving - in real life. They soon realize that they're trapped inside the building with a serial killer after them.


TOKYO DECADENCE
Genre: Drama/Cult
Director: Ryu Murakami
Country: Japan

Long out of print, the cult classic returns to DVD! A timid Japanese college girl, Ai, tries to make ends meet as a S&M bondage girl for hire within a world of wealthy businessmen & lavish Tokyo penthouses. Her quest for true love and happiness contrasts with the dark nighttime in Tokyo, ridden with perverse sex and drugs. From the writer of "Audition.


YOUNG YAKUZA
Genre: Drama/Documentary
Director: Jean-Pierre Limosin
Country: France

Cannes Film Festival Official Seletion. Enter the secret world of the Yakuza. Young Naoki Watanabe gets caught up in the wave of juvenile delinquency. He’s a failure at school, work and in his personal life. His mother, driven by shame and despair, is reunited with an old friend, Mr. Imai, who offers to introduce her son into the ranks of the Yakuza.

His boss Kumagai, confronted by new trends facing Japan, feels that the Yakuza is being edged out of modern society. He takes Naoki under his wing and take him around the city of Shinagawa to show him the realities of the modern Yakuza. Divided by loyalties to his mother and to his new “family,” Naoki will have to choose between the light and the dark.


VLADO - 30 YEARS LATER
Genre: Documentary/Foreign
Director: João Batista de Andrade
Country: Brazil

The documentary tells the story of journalist Vladimir Herzog, nicknamed Vlado, who was tortured and murdered during the repression years of Brazilian military dictatorship.

The journalist Vladimir Herzog, known as Vlado, in October 25, 1975 is called to present himself at a police station in Sao Paulo. The political regime, a dictatorship, had taken many as political prisoners and many were artists and journalists. Vlado with the firm belief he had nothing to hide goes to the DOI-CODI police station. A few hours after arriving at the police station the news of his death becomes public and announced as suicide.

Director Joao Batista now attempts to register on camera the events that took place at the time. The testimonies of many such as archbishops, journalists, artists, writers and Vlado's widow Clarice Herzog provide an insight of the dictatorship in Brazil.


BLOOD & WINE
Genre: Drama/Foreign
Director: João Batista de Andrade
Country: Brazil
Cast:Leonardo Vieira, Simone Spoladore,
Leopoldo Pacheco, Eva Wilma, José Dumont, Kaio Pezutti

The story of a simple Brazilian family engaged in the political life of the 1950s; from the suicide of President Getúlio Vargas, the establishment of martial law in 1964 and the tumultuous two decades that followed culminating in the death of President Tancredo Neves, responsible for the re-democratization
of the country.

Within their simple livesay the dreams of Brazilian politics: the illusions, fears, terrors, and disappointments, as lived by ordinary citizens left with only their own hopes and tragedies..



STRAY BULLET
Genre: Foreign/Thriller
Director: Yoo Hyun-Mok
Country: South Korea
Cast: Kim Jin-Kyu, Choi Mu-Ryong

This classic piece of Korean cinema depicts the life of a public accountant who struggles with money and the social upheavals of a changing society. He is burdened with the responsibility of supporting a mentally troubled mother, malnourished pregnant wife, troublesome younger brother and a sister who is prostituting herself to American soldiers.


AVIDA
Genre: Foreign/Comedy
Director: Benoit Delepine, Gustave de Kervern
Country: France
Cast: Gustave de Kervern, Benoit Delepine, Velvet D'Amour, Claude Chabrol

Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern, co-directors of the 2005 cult favorite Aaltra, return with Avida, another eye-popping dark comedy. The loony French filmmakers appear in leading roles as two of the three men whose plan to kidnap a wealthy woman’s dog goes horribly awry. Instead of nabbing the dog, the “kidnappers” are forced to help its owner, Avida, carry out her death wish. In a cinematic universe all its own, Avida features stunning black-and-white cinematography that highlights the filmmakers’ penchant for politically incorrect, scatological tableau sequences that both offend and amuse. As Variety put it, “Somewhere between Monty Python, Jacques Tati and a slideshow of New Yorker cartoons, this critique of life’s cruel inconsistency confirms the French co-directors’ gift for reinterpreting surrealism in a humorously modern key.” Features a cameo appearance by legendary French director Claude Chabrol.


DEMON POND
Genre: Foreign/Fantasy
Director: Takashi Miike
Country: Japan
Cast: Shinji Takeda ("Taboo", "Pulse"), Tomoko Tabata, Ryuhei Matsuda ("Taboo"), Yasuko Matsuyaki ("Hula Girls," "Another Heaven"), Kenichi Endo ("Big Bang Love", "Great Yokai War"), Kitaro ("Samurai Fiction"), and legendary actor Tetsuro Tamba ("Gozu", "You Only Live Twice").

From the director of "Audition" and "Ichi the Killer", DEMON POND is the modern-day story of a man searching for a friend who has mysteriously disappeared, with a magical tale involving strange creatures, a heartbroken princess, and a pact that can't be broken. Conflicts between faith and skepticism, and between social obligation and personal desire drive the narrative toward a dramatic conclusion where the worlds of the real and the surreal inevitably collide. Directed by Takashi Miike.


THE BITE
Genre: Foreign/Cult/Erotic
Director: Kan Mukai
Country: Japan
Cast: Michiko Shiroyama, Senjo Ichiriki, Machiko Matsumoto, Keisuke Senda

Directed by Hiroshi Mukai (Tokyo DeepThroat), THE BITE takes a scandalous peek into a steamy life of hot young gigolo. Watch as he seduces beautiful Japanese girls then makes love to them as they are secretly watched by the rich clients of his high society madam.

When a parent falls ill and will die without an operation, he must resort to every dirty secret in his bag of tricks to raise the money.

Featuring some of the most stunningly gorgeous Japanese women ever on screen, THE BITE will excite the senses with steamy sex, clever twists and unexpected turns. Sink your teeth into THE BITE. Presented for the first time ever on DVD in a brand new digital transfer produced from the only known existing 35mm print.


MY BEAUTIFUL JINJIIMAA
Genre: Foreign/Drama
Director: Ochi Mashbat
Country: Mongolia
Cast: Natsagdorj Battsetseg, Purevdorj Tserendagva, Dorjgotov Gantsetseg

My Beautiful Jinjiimaa is an emotional romantic drama in a setting few in the U.S. have ever seen. A deaf woman, Jinjiimaa, is raped by the local party Chairman, and shoots her attacker. Her lifelong friend, lame farmer Sukhee, goes to prison for six years for Jinjimaa's crime. The film begins with his return, where Sukhee and Jinjiimaa meet– each with a secret.


EIGHTH COLOR OF THE RAINBOW
Genre: Foreign/Drama
Director: Amauri Tangara
Country: Brazil
Cast: Diego Borges, Izabel Serra, Renan Diminier

Joãozinho lives in the Vila de Nossa Senhora da Guia, and is brought up by his grandmother. Very ill, and unable to get around, old Didinha brings her grandson up on a pittance of a pension and milk from their goat. One night, Joãozinho wakes up with his grandmother praying that God take her for she can no longer bear the pain of her disease and the lack of money to buy medicine. Joãozinho hears this and decides to sell their goat and, with the money, buy the medicine his grandmother requires. While on his journey, he discovers the ancient and the new architecture of the capital, personalities from the cultural and political life, and the good and the bad sides of the city.


BRUCE LEE: The Early Years
THE GUIDING LIGHT/AN ORPHAN'S TRAGEDY

Genre: Foreign
Cast: Bruce Lee
DVD Release Date: February 5

Double feature containing two of Bruce Lee's early works, available for the first time on DVD.

In THE GUIDING LIGHT, a 13 year old Lee plays San, a child who is given up for adoption. Finally accepted by his surrogate parents, he is suddenly faced with a dilemma when his real parents show up and want him back.

Loosely based on "Great Expectations," AN ORPHAN'S TRAGEDY follows a young Lee, an orphan, who meets and befriends an escaped convict, little knowing that their paths will cross again years later and bring about a series of fateful events and reveal a secret about the boy's past.


WOOL 100%
Genre: Foreign/Fantasy
Director: Mai Tominaga
Country: Japan
Cast: Kyôko Kishida, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Ayu Kitaura
DVD Release Date: January 8
Trailer: click here

A pair of elderly junk collectors find their lives turned upside down when their latest procurement brings them into contact with an obsessive young knitter in the hallucinogenic feature debut of prominent short filmmaker Mai Tominaga.

"If Tim Burton were to go to Japan to make a movie about two elderly sisters living in a house filled from floor to ceiling with junk, and a girl who invades their lives and spends day and night knitting a red sweater, it would, I imagine, be something like "Wool 100%. An odd and highly original film that should charm teenagers and adults." -- The New York Post

"Wild yet gentle, the fantasy film "Wool 100%" is a playful contraption illustrating the kinship between movies, fairy tales and dreams. The film's spectacularly jumbled sets evoke the films of Pierre Jeunet ("Amélie") and Terry Gilliam (particularly Robin Williams's cellar headquarters in "The Fisher King")" -- The New York Times


BRUCE LEE: THE KID
Genre: Foreign/Comedy
Director: Fung Fung
Country: Hong Kong
Cast: Bruce Lee, Yee Chau-Shiu, Lee Hoi Cheun
DVD Release Date: December 4

Based upon the comic strip “Kiddy Cheung”, The Kid stars a 10-year old BRUCE LEE playing an orphaned child selling comics in from a stall in the slums to survive. When the local gangs move in, it’s up to ‘Bruce’ to keep the streets clean.

“A great example of early Cantonese cinema, a showcase of a little boy who grows up to become a huge star, THE KID is a movie not to be missed.” – The Illuminated Lantern

For fans of Martial Arts Classics, this early film (1950) starring the one and only BRUCE LEE is an absolute MUST HAVE.

“Bruce Lee, at 10, is readily identifiable; when he pretends to be a teacher to make the other kids laugh, he juts out his lower jaw in exactly the way he would do in his films 20 years later to intimidate his opponents. While obviously still a kid and prone to overacting (come to think of it, the latter might be a trait he never quite got rid of), he is an entertaining figure. His real-life father, Lee Hoi-cheun, plays the rich tightwad Hung. (Excerpt from the Illuminated Lantern Review of The Kid, available to read here.


LITTLE SHAOLIN MONKS
Genre: Documentary/Martial Arts
Director: Bai Haibin
Country: China
DVD Release Date: January 16, 2007

This acclaimed documentary follows the lives of a group of "Little Warrior Monks" who live in the famous Shaolin Temple and practice the highest form of martial arts known to man. The kids range in age from 6 to 12 years and lead lives isolated from the rest of the world. Each day their discipline includes rigorous training, dedicated prayer and a vegetarian lifestyle. Other children their age admire these legendary "Shaolin Monks." This film also follows the plight of one particular "Little Monk" whose dream is to venture out of the Temple to go to Tiananmen Square to see the statue of Chairman Mao.


RAISE THE CASTLE!
Genre: Comedy
Director: Yo Kohatsu
Cast: Makoto Imazato, Yuko Nishimaru, Shuzo Mitamura
DVD Release Date: April 10, 2007

A cross between Akira Kurosawa and Monty Python!  The samurai lord, Ondaiji, travels 400 years to fulfill his dream of raising a castle. He finds an understanding professor, dim town officials, a mysterious old lady, and happy-go-lucky tramps who suggest the best material for the castle is cardboard. Cardboard? What will he do with his shachihoko?


YOUNG APHRODITES
Genre: Drama/Fantasy
Director: Nikos Koundouros
Cast: Cleopatra Rota,
Vangelis Joannides, Eleni Prokopiou 
DVD Release Date: May 8

YOUNG APHRODITES presents a world of primitive love and lust, erotic passions, and innocent physical longing as two adolescents experience sensual awakening in a savagely nomadic world.  Director NIKOS KOUNDOUROS, winner of the Best Director award at the BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL, filmed among the old ruins and landscapes of Greece and used authentic shepherds, peasants, and popular dancers to recreate the mood and atmosphere of a time long ago. Both exotic and sensual, this magnificently photographed film is a poetic ode to the beginning of adulthood and the loss of innocence.


LEGEND OF THE DRAGON
Genre: Foreign/Martial Arts
Country: Hong Kong
Cast: Sammo Hung, Huang Xiao Ming, Timmy Hun

Sammo Hung stars as Dragon Ki, a Tai Chi master who once left his wife and son in order to study the ancient art.  Meanwhile, his son (Huang Xiao Ming) grows up, and finds himself bullied by the town's karate champ Cheng Fu Keung (Richard Ng).  Seems they are in love with the same girl.  When the situation threatens his mother’s business, he takes on the challenge to fight Timmy, travelling across the country in search of his father to train him to kick some serious butt.


The following films are part of The Chinese Film Classics Collection: a continuing series of historical films from China's Golden Age of Cinema

DOUBLE FEATURE

EMPRESS WU ZEITAN

Directed by Bu Wangcang

DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER
Directed by Peilin Fang


DVD Release Date: February 5  

EMPRESS WU ZETIAN: Empress Wu rose to power after the decline of the Tang Dynasty and ruled at a time when women were still shackled by tradition and a patriarchal social structure. From 605 to 750 A.D., she founded the Zhou Dynasty. This film traces her reentry into the Imperial Palace as a favored concubine, her rise to power and her dalliances with her lovers, the Zhang brothers, who later conspire to remove her from the throne.  

DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER: Considered one of the greatest novels ever written, as well as the definitive classic Chinese novel, this is one of the earliest filmed versions. In this Chinese costume epic, set during the 1700s in China, a prominent family loses its good luck when one of the sons loses the jade chip that was embedded in his mouth. Their luck returns when the chip is found. Unfortunately the lad brings ruination upon the family when he marries against his father's will.


PRINCESS IRON FAN
Genre: Foreign/Animation
Director: Wan Guchan
DVD Release Date: November 6

Produced by the Wan brothers in the midst of  World War II, Princess Iron Fan is the first feature length animated film produced in China. We follow the Monkey King and his friends on their journey to the west. As they reach Fire Mountain they are unable to pass because of the fire but learn that a special iron fan can quench the flames. However, the fan belongs to Princess Iron Fan and she will not willingly lend it to them... The film is also one of the earliest works to extensively use the rotoscoping animation process. 


DOUBLE FEATURE:

A SPRAY OF PLUM BLOSSOMS
Directed by Wangcang Bu
Cast: Ruan Lingyu, Jin Yan, Gao Zhanfei, Lin Chuchu, Wang Cilong

TWO STARS IN THE MILKY WAY
Directed by Dongsan Shi
Cast: Violet Wong Raymond King

A double feature of two rare Chinese classic silent films, with newly recorded music scores by Toshiyuki Hiraoka.

A SPRAY OF PLUM BLOSSOMS

Adapted from Shakespeare "The two Gentlemen of Verona", this film is set in 1920s China. Hu Luting and Bai Lede are both graduates from the Shanghai Military Academy.Hu Zhuli (Hu's sister) and Bai are in love. Hu is set to Canton under General Shi's command. Shi Luohua, the general's daughter, falls in love with Hu. Later, Bai joins his friend in Canton and feels attracted by Miss Shi. From then on, the two young men become rivals.

TWO STARS IN THE MILKY WAY

Yan, a well-known actor, meets Li, a pretty singer who is to play with him in a film adaptation of an old Chinese play. The film is a success for both actors who soon become an ideal couple in real life too. But Yan forgot to mention he was married. A disillusioned Li abandons the film world and returns to the countryside to live with her father.



Spring In A Small Town
Directed by Fei Mu
Essay by Film Critic Wade Major 

Set in a small, secluded, run-down house, Spring in a Small Town is a psychological exploration of the female protagonist Zhou Yuwen and her intricate relationships with her sickly husband, Dai Liyan and her former lover Zhang Zhichen, a doctor who unexpectedly comes for a visit.  This film has been critically acclaimed as the best Chinese film of all time and a classic example of ‘Eastern’ cinema.


Double Feature
Street Angel

Directed by Yuan Muzhi

Twin Sisters
Directed by Zheng Zhengqiu 

STREET ANGEL

Praised by contemporary reviewers for its vivid portrayal of the urban underclass in 1930s China. Loosely based on Frank Borzage’s silent classic Seventh Heaven.

TWIN SISTERS

Twin girls separated at birth are reunited when the one raised in poverty becomes a servant in the household of her sister, now the pampered wife of a warlord general. stripper exploitation genre.


Double Feature
The Big Road

Directed by Sun Yu

Queen of Sports
Directed by Sun Yu  

THE BIG ROAD

Six friends decide to head “north” and become involved in the construction of a highway crucial for the Chinese army.  A hymn to the solidarity necessary for China to move ahead (and defeat the enemy), The Big Road shows its young protagonists only discovering who they are when they become part of a collective action. The theme song, “Dalu,” became a popular song for left-wing groups.

QUEEN OF SPORTS  

Twin girls One of the silent era’s biggest stars, Li Lilli starred in over a dozen films, contributing greatly to their rapturous reception in China. Queen of Sports, one of the most popular, is about an athletic village girl who comes to Shanghai to discover the true nature of competition and love.

Original Music score by Toshiyuki Hiraoka
Essays by Film Critic Wade Major


ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN
CHAMBER

Genre: Drama/Silent Film
Director: Hou Yao
Original Music Score: Toshiyuki Hiraoka

Based on Wang Shifu's (Yuan Dynasty, 1234-1368) famous play of the same name, The Romance of the Western Chamber tells the story of a young scholar Zhang Sheng who goes to the capital city to take the highest imperial examination. During his stay in a temple, he meets Cui Yingying, daughter of the Prime Minister and immediately falls in love with her.

Soon, a group of robbers besiege them. Yingying's mother declares that she will marry off her daughter to whoever saves them. Zhang Sheng manages to do that with his friend's help. But Yingying's mother refuses to keep her words because Zhang is a poor scholar. However, Yingying and Zhang Sheng's love is so strong that, with the help of Hong Niang, Yingying's maid, the couple breaks the traditional barrier.


Song At Midnight
Directed by Weibang Maxu
Essay by Film Critic Andy Klein

An exciting Chinese interpretation of The Phantom of the Opera!  Ten years after supposedly being killed in an opera house, Song Danping returns to relate his story - when he fell in love with the daughter of a rich feudal lord, he was beaten, disfigured with acid and left to die in the burning opera house by her father. He's been waiting in the rebuilt theatre for someone to take over his artistic mantle and he's chosen the opera troupe's new young star.


Double Feature
Crossroads

Directed by Shen Xiling

Daybreak
Directed by Sun Yu  

Essays by Film Critic Andy Klein

CROSSROADS

Crossroads follows four recent graduates: Zhao wants to be a writer but is stuck proofreading; Tang wants to be an artist but is hired to dress windows. Xu has given up hope, while Liu has “gone north” to fight the Japanese. Zhao lives in a crowded boardinghouse with an annoying female neighbor. Unbeknownst to each other, the two meet on a bus and a romance develops.

DAYBREAK  

Perhaps more than any other director working at that time, Sun Yu consistently sought to portray the working class affected by feudalism and imperialism. In Daybreak, Li plays a villager forced into prostitution in Shanghai, while her lover (Gao) joins the revolutionaries. After she helps him flee the authorities, she is sentenced to death by a firing squad, a scene of devastating impact.


The Spring River Flows East
Directed by Cai Chunsheng, Zheng Junli
Cast: Bai Yang, Tao Jin, Shu Xiuwen, Shangguan Yunzhu  
DVD Release Date: July 17

This epic melodrama, considered China's equivalent to "Gone With The Wind", was considered the most significant Chinese film of the late 1940s.  The film was released in two parts: "Eight Years of Turmoil and "Before and After Dawn" and tells the melodramatic story of a family during and after the War of Resistance Against Japan. 


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