And now we have Part 2 of the joint podcast from TarsTarkas.NET and 4DK about Taiwanese giant monster films. Join Tars from TarsTarkas.NET and Todd from Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! as we discuss how annoying flying Taiwanese children are a threat to the very existence of giant monsters in Taiwan, as well as Taiwanese films that don’t fit into neat categories. Only one of the films mentioned this time are impossible for you to see at the moment, the rest are just highly difficult to locate!
You can download the mp3 here (right-click, save-as) or just watch the flash version where I threw together some images to go along with what is discussed and even remembered to have an opening title card!
Movies discussed include:
Flyer of Young Prodigal
Young Flying Hero
Boy and a Magic Box
Thrilling Sword – Tars Review – 4DK Review
Phantom Magic Peach Blossom
Legend of Mother Goddess
The joint podcast will continue soon! It will definitely be better technically with less random noises and clearer microphones. We might even have a title for it by next time…
Directed and Produced by Ahmmad Nasir
It’s time to crack open a big can of Bangladeshi cinema!
Bangladesh was once part of Pakistan, known as East Pakistan (and Pakistan was part of India under the British…) but a civil war in 1971 got them their independence. Bangladesh is a Muslim country, and due to close cultural ties with both Pakistan and India, Bangladeshi cinema resembles both of the neighbors. We have strong he-man characters with mustaches yelling at each other like Pakistani cinema. From India, we have songs, dances, and tragedy happening to the hero.
Bangladeshi cinema is based out of the city of Dharka, and thus is known as Dhallywood, because every region needs its own “-ollywood”! There is also Bangladeshi cinema produced in India for the large Banglar population there, based out of the West Bengal city of Kolkata, and known as Tollywood. This was actually not only the first Tollywood, but the first “-ollywood” as it is a play on the neighborhood of Tollygunge in Kolkata where many of the movie studios were located in 1932. Blame Wilford E. Deming of American Cinematographer for all these “-ollywood”s you can’t keep straight!
Banglar Cinema was already going strong under Pakistani rule, but after independence production exploded. But by the time the 1980s were in full swing, Banglar films were on the decline. Now, with increased competition from TV and satellite shows, Banglar cinema has more problems than ever. But it also has undergone a rebirth, with the latter half of the 2000s producing a lot of new films and new talents. Where will these talents take Banglar film in the 2010s? We shall find out as you do.
In what is sadly common in a lot of foreign vcds, the vcd company advertises their name throughout the film. In addition, they seem to either be covering up a previous company’s logo because they took over the distribution rights OR they are straight bootlegging it. So we got annoying logos pasted over annoying logos with annoying scrolling text pasted over annoying scrolling text. The key word is annoying. This is pretty darn common in vcd releases from the region, because deluxe edition DVD boxed sets with director’s commentaries and lame behind the scenes extras are not the economic model of cinema in many countries. Pumping out dozens of films a year as fast as possible for theatrical run and then saturating the area with vcds making sure everyone knows that Famous Person is the star is the way to go.
How ’bout that scrolling text graphic?
Inspector Abu, the Banglar hero, is played by a guy named Manna. Manna was born SM Aslam Talukder in 1964 and entered acting at age 20 under the name Manna. Over his lifetime, Manna acted in over 350 movies and became one of the biggest names in the industry. As General Secretary of the Bangladesh Film Actors Association, he lead efforts to reduce vulgarity in Banglar cinema. He died in 2008 of a heart attack, probably from the stress involved in ripping off yet another guy’s arm.
I am pretty sure that Dr. Masutke is played by Omor Shani (aka Omar Sani) – who is married to Mousumi who probably played the sister Asti. I am not 100% positive, partially because there are very few good pictures of Omar Sani online, and in the ones that are, Omar has changed his weight and look considerably. At some point it looks like he wanted to try out for a Nutty Professor The Klumps sequel, not realizing it was all makeup on Eddie Murphy. But I guess he kept the local restaurant industry afloat…
I found even less information on director/producer Ahmmad Nasir. Besides a few references to this film, there is nothing out there at all in English.
Yes, now you can listen to TarsTarkas.NET while you workout at the gym or play us in the background while you hose off the women you keep in the pit in your basement. TarsTarkas.NET doesn’t judge, and certainly isn’t calling the cops, we’re just ordering a pizza. Yeah, that’s it!
Join Tars from TarsTarkas.NET and Todd from Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! as they discuss giant monster movies out of Taiwan, a mysterious subgenre stooped in obscurity and discovery. In fact, much of the information is based on speculation and internet gossip! But it has giant monsters, so it is automatically awesome, even if the films are boring. And please ignore how we get Monster From the Sea and The Savior Monk mixed up!
Films discussed include:
You can download the mp3 here (right-click, save-as) or just play it with a handy dandy flash version that I threw together with a few images from the movies discussed:
Coming soon will be Part 2, where annoying Taiwanese children will fly around and slaughter every giant monster they can find.
Mean Drunken Master
aka Iron Bridge Kung-Fu aka Mang han dou lao qian
Directed by Wong Fung
Gam Fung-Ling starred in The Ape Girl and one other film, Mean Drunken Master/Iron Bridge Kung Fu. Hey, look, we’re doing a review of Mean Drunken Master/Iron Bridge Kung Fu! I bet you didn’t see that coming! Now I bet you are wondering who the mean drunken master is. I hate to disappoint you, but there is no mean drunken master. In fact, all we have is a drunken master who doesn’t even bother to be in the last half of the film. He’s more of an absent drunken master. The evil guy isn’t drunk, but he does have a ridiculous name, as do all his goons. He must have founded the Evil Ridiculous Names Gang, and then spent his youth terrorizing the people of Taiwan who had normal names.
Director Wong Fung directed many films (including How The Ape Girl Stole The Lotus Lamp and The Blonde Monster), but did you know that many of his films have the word “white” in the title? It’s true! I know you are as shocked as I. For the record: White-Haired Madam Su is Pregnant (1959), Stone Prince Takes the Throne (Final Part to White-Haired Madam Su) (1959), The White Lady’s Reincarnation (1959), The White-snake Girl (Part 1) (1960), The White-snake Girl (Part 2) (1960), White Hair Girl of Miu Shan (Part 1) (1961), White Hair Girl of Miu Shan (Part 2) (1961), and The White Dragon (1968). That’s 8/67 films with white in the title, an 11.9% rate! He also wrote 42 of the Wong Fei-Hung movies, and directed a fair share of them.
Gam Fung-Ling stars in this flick along with The Ape Girl/Lady Iron Monkey. These are her only two film roles known, which is sort of a shame because she’s pretty darn charismatic in both of the films. Whatever happened to Gam Fung-Ling? Your guess is as good as mine. Unless you actually know, in which case your guess is probably better than mine. Maybe. Who knows, one day I’ll be watching some random Taiwanese flick and suddenly Gam Fung-Ling will wander by and monkey kung fu the crap out of someone. That will be a good day (unless you’re the dude getting monkey kung fu-ed!)
Da Khwar Lasme Spogmay
You know, there are probably many different Pakistani films I could review that explore the rich and complex social history of the culture and the various ethnic groups that make up the nation. But they all pale in comparison because none of the other films have a cat lady killing dudes!
The history of the various ethnic groups in Pakistan both pre- and post-Partition is a complicated matter that fill scholarly books. We cannot begin to go over everything in the detail it deserves in an introduction to a movie review about a cat lady who goes all Freddy Krueger on rapists. But we’ll do our best to give you a crash course.
When India was granted independence in 1947, it was split into India and Pakistan, Pakistan being set up as an Islamic country separate from the Hindu-dominated India. At the time, Pakistan was mainly populated by ethnic groups known as the Sindhi, Pashtun (aka Pukhtoon aka Pathan), Baloch, Punjabi, and Bangladeshi. Two other groups of note (more displaced people than ethnic groups) are the Moharjirs, who were Muslim Indians who fled India during the Partition, and the Biharis, Indian Muslims who moved to East Pakistan during Partition. As there was no “historic” Pakistan, the country is more or less an attempt to get several different ethnic groups with different languages to work together and form a stable government. That has been less than successful, with multiple government takeovers by the military and the 1971 civil war in East Pakistan that lead to the creation of the independent country of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has its own fine cinema tradition that we will get to someday soon, but for now let’s stay in Pakistan and
The Pashtun people are located in Western Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan. They are generally considered very conservative, and are where the Taliban came from. Pashto-language cinema was created for the Pashtun people, the industry largely based in the city of Peshawar in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Peshawar industry became known as Pollywood. The first Pashto film, Laila Majnoon, was made in 1939 but not released until 1942. Pashto cinema had to wait until 1960 to produce a second film, and a third trickled in during 1963. Eventually the trickle became a mighty river of films. Producers based in Lahore (aka Lollywood) have also created Pashto-language films since the 1970s, but in recent years production has slowed considerably.
Pashto cinema went through what you could call a golden age until the 1980s when TVs and VCRs became commonplace in many homes. Theaters dried up almost overnight, and the quality of cinema decline along with the tastes of the audience still heading to the theaters. Even overseas, the audience of Pashto-speakers instead turned to other forms of media. Now with the Pashto audience increasingly being the poor and a large influx Afghan refugees, and the fact the audience became almost exclusively male, the cheaply made films began to focus more on sleaze and violence. The amount of films made decreased significantly, the mighty river again returning to a slow trickle. The Pashto industry became known as a depository for awful films, some of the productions becoming infamous in their weirdness (this being one such film!) Noted India and Pakistan film expert Omar Ali Khan (also proprietor of the excellent Hot Spot Ice Cream shop and HotSpotOnline) has even mentioned that some cinemas would start out playing the normal sleazy awful film, then switch reels to European porn, and then return to the actual film for the final reel. Pashto cinema became known for women wearing skimpy costumes gyrating around with repeated zooms or closeups of the crotch region. It is just a weird thing to see. And these films passed the censor boards in the area, making the whole thing even more bizarre. Pashto men are manly men with big mustaches and everyone is shouting all the time. It’s like Turkish film to the power of 100.
Although there are efforts to try to make a resurgence in quality of Pashto cinema in recent years, it is not going to be an easy process especially with the ongoing political problems in Pakistan.
This being a female-helmed film, the many musical interludes involving dancing women of robust sizes are not as sleazed up as much of the Pashto cinema, so there is only a small amount of gyrating and zooming into crotches. Almost so little that you can take your whole family to see the film! Keep in mind the women of Pashto film are a little more….curvy…than you are probably used to. The VCD has moving graphics for the Musafa video company, you can even call them if you so desire! Tell them you love Cat-Beast, because I am sure they’d love to hear from you. Besides the cast below, Kamran, Liaqat, and Umar Daraz are listed as cast members but I have no idea who is who.