Daily Archives: February 3, 2019
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Between Two Women (2000) is a 1950s set feature film by British writer-director Steven Woodcock. It tells the story of Ellen, a factory worker’s wife trapped in an unhappy marriage amidst the grime and industrial noise of north England.
Working class Ellen (Barbara Marten) makes friends with her young son’s middle-class schoolteacher, Miss Thompson (Andrina Carroll), and their growing lesbian relationship is tastefully explored as Ellen’s marriage to the clumsy factory worker, Hardy (Andrew Dunn), gradually falls apart. In the end Ellen finds the strength to follow her true path and her marriage is pretty much over. Because of the stifling social attitudes of the 1950s she and Hardy seem like they’ll pretend to still be together. The film closes on a happy note as Ellen catches a train away from the factory town where she lives, to spend time with Kathy.
It’s the stifling social conventions of the 1950s that are at the root of the movie’s poetic and very understated style. Anybody with low concentration parameters could easily miss the lesbian aspect altogether. In the DVD documentary The Making of Between Two Women (only on UK DVD) Steven Woodcock says that Miss Thompson was originally intended to be a man but he couldn’t get the story to work. He claims not to have based the story of the two women on anything that happened to him in real life but that it came as a flash of inspiration when he woke up one morning.
The movie is in the tradition of the British northern-set kitchen sink drama and is a homage to the British New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s, being filmed in the same naturalistic way, drawing on Cinéma vérité methods, and using entirely real locations. Its main difference is that its theme of a lesbian relationship across the class divide in a gritty working class setting would have been considered too risky, had the film been made at the time of the original British New Wave movement. It’s this that gives it, in the words of the British TV magazine the Radio Times, “a refreshing contemporary spin”.
|Directed by||Steven Woodcock|
|Written by||Steven Woodcock|
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Spanish: Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios) is a 1988 Spanish black comedy-drama film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, starring Carmen Maura and Antonio Banderas. The film brought Almodóvar to widespread international attention: it was nominated for the 1988 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and won five Goya Awards including Best Film and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Maura.
The actual Spanish title refers to an ataque de nervios, which is not actually well translated as “nervous breakdown” (crisis nerviosa). Ataques de nervios are culture-bound psychological phenomena during which the individual, most often female, displays dramatic outpouring of negative emotions, bodily gestures, occasional falling to the ground, and fainting, often in response to receiving disturbing news or witnessing or participating in an upsetting event. Historically, this condition has been associated with hysteria and more recently in the scientific literature with post-traumatic stress and panic attacks.
The film plot takes its starting point from the French play The Human Voice (La Voix humaine, 1930) by Jean Cocteau where a desperate woman tries to avoid being dumped by her lover through a series of phone calls. In the film, TV actress Pepa Marcos (Carmen Maura) is depressed and taking sleeping pills because her boyfriend Iván (Fernando Guillén) has just left her. Both she and Iván work as voice-over actors who dub foreign films, notably Johnny Guitar with Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden. The voice he uses to sweet-talk her (and many other women) is the same one he uses in his work. He is about to leave on a trip and has asked Pepa to pack his things in a suitcase that he will pick up later.
Pepa returns home later to find her answering machine filled with frantic messages from her friend, Candela (María Barranco). In anger, she rips out the phone and throws it through the window onto the balcony. Candela arrives, still overwhelmed, but before she can explain her situation, Carlos (Antonio Banderas), Iván’s son with previous lover Lucía (Julieta Serrano), arrives with his snobbish fiancée, Marisa (Rossy de Palma). It turns out they are apartment-hunting, and by coincidence have chosen Pepa’s penthouse to look at. Carlos and Pepa figure out each other’s relationship to Iván; Pepa wants to know where Iván is because she has to tell him something, but Carlos doesn’t know where his father is. Candela unsuccessfully attempts to kill herself by jumping off the balcony.
Meanwhile, Marisa has become bored and decides to drink some gazpacho she finds in the fridge, not realizing that it has been spiked with sleeping pills. Candela finally gets to explain her situation: a while ago she had a love affair with an Arab who later came to visit her, bringing some friends with him. It turns out that they are a Shiite terrorist cell and Candela was unknowingly harboring them in her home. When the terrorists left, Candela fled to Pepa’s place for help. Candela fears that the police think she is involved and will come for her. Pepa sets out to see a lawyer Carlos has recommended to help Candela, and ends up catching the same cab with the same Mambo-loving driver.
However, Paulina, the lawyer she visits, is acting strangely. Pepa sees that Paulina has tickets to Stockholm. Iván calls the office at one point, and Paulina seems to know Pepa, and is very rude to her. Meanwhile, Candela reveals to Carlos that the Shiites plan to hijack a flight to Stockholm that evening and divert it to Beirut, where the Shiite terrorists have a friend who was captured by the authorities. After Carlos fixes the broken phone, he quickly calls the police, but hangs up before (he believes) they can trace the call, then surprisingly kisses Candela. Pepa returns and Lucía calls, announcing she is coming over to confront her about Iván. Carlos reveals that Lucía has been in a mental hospital since Iván left her and has only now been released. Pepa, now sick of Iván and no longer wanting to see him, heads back down with Iván’s suitcase; she throws it out, just barely missing Iván, who has arrived with Paulina (Kiti Mánver) on their way to the airport. He leaves Pepa a message.
Pepa returns to her apartment and hears the song from the opening, “Soy Infeliz”, which Carlos is playing. Enraged, Pepa yanks off the record and throws it out of the window, and it ends up hitting Paulina. Pepa then hears Iván’s message and once again rips out the phone and throws the answering machine back out of the window; it lands on Paulina’s car. Back in the apartment, Lucía arrives, along with the phone repairman and the police, who have traced Carlos’ earlier call. Candela starts to panic, but Carlos comes up with an idea: to serve everyone the spiked gazpacho. The policemen and repairman are knocked out, Carlos and Candela make out on the sofa and also fall asleep, and Lucía grabs the policemen’s guns and aims them at Pepa, who figures out that Paulina is the other woman Iván is going to Stockholm with, and that their flight is the one that the terrorists are planning to hijack. Lucía reveals that she is still insane and only faked sanity when she heard Iván’s voice dubbed on a foreign film. She throws the gazpacho into Pepa’s face and rushes to the airport to kill Iván; she sees a motorcyclist and forces him to act as her driver.
Pepa chases her and is joined by her neighbour Ana, who happens to be the motorcyclist’s stood-up girlfriend. They quickly hail a cab (driven by the Mambo taxi driver again) and a mad chase ensues to the airport, with Lucía firing the gun at them. Lucía arrives at the airport, sees that Iván and Paulina are about to pass security, and aims her gun at them. Pepa arrives just in time and thwarts the murder attempt by rolling a luggage cart at Lucía. Iván runs over to Pepa, who is now mentally and physically exhausted after two days of trying to chase down her lover. Iván offers to finally speak with her about whatever she has been trying to speak to him about, and for a moment, it seems he might even leave Paulina to take her back. But Pepa refuses, saying, “There was still time last night, this morning, even today at noon. But now it’s too late.” Having saved his life, she leaves the airport, and Iván, for good.
Pepa returns to her home, which is a mess with a burnt bedroom, broken windows, a telephone ripped from the wall, spilled gazpacho on the floor, her menagerie of chickens and geese running around loose, and several unconscious visitors all overdosed on sleeping pills. Pepa sits on her balcony where Marisa has just woken up. The two women chat, sharing a moment of tranquility at the end of a hectic 48 hours, and Pepa finally reveals what her big news for Iván was: she’s pregnant.
|Directed by||Pedro Almodóvar|
|Produced by||Pedro Almodóvar|
|Written by||Pedro Almodóvar|
|Music by||Bernardo Bonezzi|
|Cinematography||José Luis Alcaine|
|Edited by||José Salcedo|
|Distributed by||Laurenfilm S.A.|
|Box office||$7.1 million (US)|
Princess Princess (Japanese: プリンセス・プリンセス Hepburn: Purinsesu Purinsesu) is the title of a fictional series written and illustrated by Japanese author Mikiyo Tsuda about the lives of three high school boys and the school they attend. The series is contained within multiple media pieces which began as a manga first serialized in the manga magazine Wings starting in 2002. After the first manga series ended, a sequel entitled Princess Princess + started serialization in the same magazine in May 2006, and finished in January 2007. An anime has since been adapted from the manga and began airing in Japan on April 5, 2006, produced by the Japanese animation studio, Studio Deen. A live action adaptation called Princess Princess D aired in Japan from June 28, 2006 to September 13, 2006. Finally, a visual novel video game for the PlayStation 2 based on the series was released on October 26, 2006 in Japan.
Princess Princess is a story revolving around the lives of three boys chosen to dress up as girls at the all-boy school they attend, which also just happens to be the most elite school in the area. The main protagonist, Toru Kouno, has just transferred to a new all-boys school, Fujimori, after living with his uncle for a time. He is one such boy chosen to be one of the Hime (姫) or “Princesses“, which is a tradition at the school in order to break up the monotony of life surrounded by nothing but males. Students (based on certain qualifications) are selected to be Princesses and are made to dress up as girls and attend school functions like this.
At the beginning of the story, there are already two such Princesses, Yuujirou Shihodani and Mikoto Yutaka, known as the Western Princess and Eastern Princess respectively, due to their room location. Toru is convinced into becoming a Princess soon after entering the school though once he accepted the job, he found it to be much more enjoyable than he thought.
A candidate for a Princess must be a first year student of the school since they: have more free time from school work, their bodies have not fully developed, and they can easily wear girls’ outfits. From all the first years, those with the best looks and most-suited personalities are chosen to be Princesses. However, if one only has good looks but is not popular, that person will not be chosen. The Princesses’ duties consist of: wearing girl’s clothes to morning meetings or school events, encouraging others at school, and cheering at school events. Students who are required to be Princesses cannot refuse the position.
When there is a conflict between a Princess’ work and school classes, absence from class or leaving early can be considered as a school vacation, and the absence will not show up on his attendance record. Every month the Princesses receive thirty school luncheon vouchers each. Therefore, when they eat at school, they do not have to pay. All necessary school supplies (notebooks, school apparel, etc.) are covered by the Princess budget, which is the largest in the whole school. Also, the Princesses will receive partial profit they can use as pocket money from the photography club that takes pictures of the Princesses and sells them to other students. The school rules require the photography club to share profits with whoever serves as model for the photos they sell, and the photographs of the Princesses are the most sought-after.
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Keitaro Motonaga|
|Original network||TV Asahi|
|Original run||April 5, 2006 –June 21, 2006|
Hikaru no Go (ヒカルの碁, lit. “Hikaru’s Go”) is a Japanese manga series based on the board game Go, written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The production of the series’ Go games was supervised by Go professional Yukari Umezawa. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1999 to 2003, with the chapters collected into 23 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha.
It was adapted into an anime television series by Studio Pierrot, that ran for 75 episodes from 2001 to 2003 on TV Tokyo, with a New Year’s Special aired in January 2004. Viz Media released both the manga and anime in North America; they serialized the manga in Shonen Jump in addition to releasing its collected volumes in entirety, while the anime aired on ImaginAsian in addition to a DVD release that was cancelled prematurely.
Hikaru no Go was well-received, with over 25 million copies in circulation and winning the Shogakukan Manga Award in 2000 and the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2003. It is largely responsible for popularizing Go among the youth of Japan since its debut, and considered by Go players everywhere to have sparked worldwide interest in the game, noticeably increasing the Go-playing population around the globe.
While exploring his grandfather’s shed, Hikaru stumbles across a Go board haunted by the spirit of Fujiwara-no-Sai, a Go player from the Heian era. Sai wishes to play Go again, having not been able to since the late Edo period, when his ghost appeared to Honinbo Shusaku, a top Go player of that period. Sai’s greatest desire is to attain the Kami no Itte (神の一手, “Divine Move”) – a perfect move. Because Hikaru is apparently the only person who can perceive him, Sai inhabits a part of Hikaru’s mind as a separate personality, coexisting, although not always comfortably, with the young boy.
Urged by Sai, Hikaru begins playing Go despite an initial lack of interest in the game. He begins by simply executing the moves Sai dictates to him, but Sai tells him to try to understand each move. In a Go salon, Hikaru twice defeats Akira Toya, a boy his age who plays Go at professional level, by following Sai’s instruction. Akira subsequently begins a quest to discover the source of Hikaru’s strength, an obsession which will come to dominate his life.
Hikaru becomes intrigued by the great dedication of Akira and Sai to the game and decides to start playing solely on his own. He is a complete novice at first, but has some unique abilities to his advantage; for instance, once he has a basic understanding of Go, he can reconstruct a game play by play from memory. Through training at Go clubs, study groups, and practice games with Sai, he manages to become an Insei and later a pro, meeting various dedicated Go players of different ages and styles along the way. He also demonstrates a natural talent for the game and remains determined to prove his own abilities to Akira, Sai, and himself.
Hikaru enters the Hokuto Cup, an international tournament for under-18 Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Go professionals. As the highest-ranking under-18 pro, Akira qualifies for the tournament, but Hikaru has to compete in a series of games to become one of the three Japanese competitors. His friends Waya and Ochi also enter the qualifying matches. He meets Kiyoharu Yashiro, a player from the Kansai Ki-in, whose style is as strange and offbeat as his own. Hikaru, along with Akira and Kiyoharu Yashiro, are selected to represent Japan, while Suyong Hong (a Korean Go player who was beaten by Hikaru earlier in the series) and two others represent Korea and three of Shinichiro Isumi’s Chinese friends represent their country.
The captain of the Korean Go team, Ko Yong Ha, is interviewed and his remarks are translated for Japanese viewers. The translator makes an error which causes it to appear that he is disparaging the skill of Honinbo Shusaku, who, like Hikaru, was possessed by Sai. Although Ko Yong Ha later finds out, he refuses to correct the error and instead emphasizes it when he realizes that it enrages Hikaru, who takes it as a direct affront to Sai. Considering their achievements and skills, Hikaru is still slightly under Akira. Therefore, their team coach, Atsushi Kurata, chooses Akira to be the captain. However, Hikaru wants to play against Ko Yong Ha, who is the captain in Korea, in order to show him that Sai is the most skillful Go player in the history of the game. Atsushi Kurata grants Hikaru’s request when they play against Korea in the tournament because he sees the burning spirit in him. At the end, Hikaru loses by only half a point. Japan eventually comes in last, behind Korea and China. But the Japanese team impressed both professionals from China and Korea because they did much better than what was expected. At the end of the game, Ko Yong Ha asks Hikaru for his reason for playing Go. With tears in his eyes, he answers with the line “To link the far past, with the far future”. The hidden meaning of this line indicates the links and emotional relationships between Sai, Shusaku, and Hikaru. However, no one understands the context of this line besides Hikaru.
A bonus story, set shortly after the Hokuto Cup event, shows two Inseis, who are ranked 14th and 16th in the group, discussing whether Akira Toya or Hikaru Shindo were stronger. In the Young Lions tournament, they are each paired with Hikaru and Akira, making them change their minds about who is stronger. In the second round, Hikaru and Akira are paired against each other and begin a match, but the conclusion is unknown.
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Susumu Nishizawa (eps. 1–15)
Jun Kamiya (eps. 16–58)
Tetsuya Endo (eps. 58–75)
|Music by||Kei Wakakusa|
|Original network||TV Tokyo|
|Original run||October 10, 2001 –March 26, 2003|
Go Fish is a 1994 American lesbian-themed independent drama film written by Guinevere Turner and Rose Troche and directed by Rose Troche. The film was a groundbreaking, hip, low-budget comedy that celebrated lesbian culture on all levels, and launched the career of director Troche and Turner. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994, and was the first film to be sold to a distributor, Samuel Goldwyn, during that event for $450,000. The film was released during gay pride month in June 1994 and eventually grossed $2.4 million. Go Fish proved the marketability of lesbian issues for the film industry.
Max is a young lesbian student in Chicago who has gone ten months without having sex. She and her roommate and college professor Kia are in a coffee shop when they run into Ely, a hippieish woman with long braided hair, whom Max initially dismisses. Max and Ely do end up going to a film together. After the film they return to Ely’s place and, after some flirtatious conversation, they kiss. Suddenly a call comes in from Ely’s (unseen on-screen) partner Kate, with whom Ely has been in a long-distance relationship for more than two years, which puts a bit of a damper on things.
Ely decides to cut off all her hair, ending up with a very short butch style. She runs into Max in a bookstore and Max almost does not recognize her.
Kia’s girlfriend Evy returns home. Her ex-boyfriend Junior is there. Evy’s mother confronts her, saying that Junior told her that he had spotted Evy at a gay bar. Evy’s mother kicks her out and Evy flees to Kia’s place and Max invites her to live with them.
Ely and her roommate Daria throw a dinner party and, after a spirited game of I Never, Max and Ely reconnect. They make plans to go out again and then begin kissing. They have several phone conversations, in the course of which Ely reveals that she’s “sort of broken up” with Kate. They get together for a second date but they never make it out of the apartment. Max ends up trimming Ely’s fingernails. This turns into foreplay and they have sex. Intercut with the closing credits are shots and short scenes of Max and Ely’s burgeoning relationship.
Directed byRose TrocheProduced byRose Troche
Guinevere TurnerWritten byRose Troche
Guinevere TurnerStarringGuinevere Turner
V.S. BrodieMusic byScott Aldrich
Jennifer SharpeCinematographyAnn T. RossettiEdited byRose TrocheDistributed bySamuel Goldwyn Company
June 10, 1994
84 minutesCountryUnited StatesLanguageEnglishBudget$15,000 (estimated)Box office$2,408,311 (US sub-total)