Back to 1942

Back to 1942

This movie provides a Glimpse into the reality of Chinese refugees After the poor harvests of 1940 and 1941 in China's Henan Province had been forced to use up its reserves. At war with and partly occupied by Japan, China was already in trauma when a major drought caused the failure of the 1942 wheat crop - and what little was produced was taken by authorities - mostly to feed the army and its horses. Political journalist and war correspondent Theodore H. White (Adrien Brodey) reported on the resulting famine in Time magazine, alerting the world to an unimaginable tragedy in which millions starved to death.

First of all this is one sad movie. You thought things were bad in your hood peep this movie out and you will walk-away feeling you are doing it big.

This is both a Disaster movie and war movie covering a dark chapter in China's history, Back to 1942 is epic in its intentions and its scope. Based on reports, Feng Xiaogang's brings the catastrophe to light regarding the famine that devastated Hunan province in 1942, when three million starved to death and 10 million fled. In this film, Xiaogang chooses to concentrate on a small group, which effectively draws us into the story.

The movie is in Mandarin so subtitles are necessary for those of us who don't speak the language. So for those of you that don't read above the third grade level you might struggle a bit. For those of you that can you may soon loose yourself in the emotion of the journey. The story focuses on a rich landlord who loses his riches to peasants that storm his residence. Once a rich man, he soon much join the ranks of those that used to beg and borrow from him. He loses everything on his journey which reveals to us once again that riches hold no weight compared to life, health and loved ones around to share it all with. The will to survive in this movie is strong and the care lengths at which family will go simply for the survival of their own is immense.

Small acts of kindness punctuate the story of hunger, loss, war and death. And faith is tested: Father Megan (Tim Robbins) has futile answers to the desperate questions: if the Lord knows this is happening, why does he do nothing? If it's the devil's will, why does the devil always win - and why believe? Good questions, but no satisfactory answers.

Adrien Brody's character, the journalist Theodore H. White is not central to the story but it is central to how it was reported to the world. Brody does it well. The entire cast does a good job in the film. The are both believable and passionate.

It is a well made film with cinematic views and I well thought story line. However the subject matter may be of lesser interest to you our Hip Hop audience. Unless you have a thirst for World History this movie is sure to quench your thirst for that knowledge. It also serves as an eye opener that oppression is experienced by all people world-wide and has been since the beginning of time. Your hood is not the only place and probably really not near as bad. We advise that you Wait for DVD.



Memoirs of a Geisha

Another period piece of the same era but of Japanese culture.


This film, based on the novel by Arthur Golden, unfolds from the perspective of Chiyo (Zhang Ziyi), a girl who, at the age of nine, is sold to a geisha house in Kyoto in the early 1930s. Here, she learns that becoming a geisha can be the single path to wealth and independence for a woman. are traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as classical music, dance and games. Some consider Geisha living to that of a prostitute but it is much more honorable than that as once a man has a woman just once she is no longer desired at all.


In this movie The head geisha of Chiyos house, however, Hatsumomo (Gong Li), is bitterly jealous of Chiyo and abuses her at every opportunity. Eventually Chiyo is taken under the wing of Hatsumomo's rival, Mameha (Michelle Yeoh), by far the most famous and successful geisha in their district. Under Mameha's tutelage, Chiyo becomes Sayuri, the most legendary geisha in the nation, skilled in all areas, from conversation to dance, and sought after by seemingly every man alive...except for the one whom she has secretly longed for since she began her training, The Chairman (Ken Watanabe) -- a man who showed her kindness at a time when her view of the world had turned the most bleak. Now as World War II approaches, Japan stands at the brink of a new era and Sayuri must confront the possibility that history will leave all that she has worked for behind.

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