'LOVE CONQUERS ALL': New Malaysian movie about forced prostitution is one of 5 films heralded as part of new wave from that country.

malaysia 88 (photo credit: )
malaysia 88
(photo credit: )
If you missed Eytan Fox's The Bubble, which opened last summer, you can now see it on a DVD, with English titles. The movie, which will be shown this week at the Berlin Film Festival, tells the story of several young residents of Tel Aviv's trendy Sheinkin neighborhood, one of whom, played by Ohad Knoller, is gay and has a romance with a young Palestinian man he meets while doing reserve duty at a checkpoint. Critical reaction in Israel varied wildly. I liked the film, which I think is an interesting depiction of how some Israelis (really, to some degree, all of us who aren't full-time activists) try to retreat into "the bubble" - the world of our calm daily lives (such as the caf s and expensive shops of Sheinkin) to escape from the reality of a country racked by conflict. Was it completely realistic? No, some of the plot twists were improbable, but don't we have enough documentary and faux-documentary realism in our films? As I wrote in my review last year, unlike so many movies that focus on the phenomenon I've labeled TAMP (Tel Aviv's Miserable People), the characters in The Bubble are having fun. If you haven't visited Tel Aviv recently, it really can be lots of fun, even though you might not want to live there. You can find out more about the film at its Website, THE FILM EDITOR of the New York Post, V.A. Musetto, writing about the recently ended Rotterdam Film Festival, says: "You won't find a red carpet, publicists or Hollywood stars. It's what's on the screen that matters here: Lots of offerings by emerging directors, plenty of experimental fare (like the first movie shot on a cellphone), and one of the best Asian lineups outside the region itself. High on the buzz list were five films from what is being heralded as the Malaysian New Wave. Musetto singles out Love Conquers All, Tan Chui Mui's first feature, which shared the top prize. It tells the story of a young woman duped into prostitution, and Musetto writes that it was subjected to rigorouss Malaysian censorship. David Ofek and Ron Rotem's A Hebrew Lesson (Ha'Ulpan), was eighth on the list of audience favorites. The documentary, a bittersweet look at a disparate group of immigrants to Israel, has been shown recently on YES Docu. ACTOR RYAN O'NEAL was arrested not long ago for allegedly assaulting his grown son Griffin, and it put the troubled O'Neal family back in the spotlight. Ryan has not worked much in recent years, though he was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood in the early Seventies, after he starred in Love Story with Ali McGraw. You can see him and part of his family in happier times at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on Saturday at 10 p.m. in Peter Bogdanovich's Paper Moon, in which he co-stars as a grifter who teams up with a girl, played by his daughter Tatum O'Neal, who turns out to be a scammer even more adept than he is. Filmed in black and white and set in the Thirties, the 1973 film won Tatum the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and to this day she remains the youngest person to have won a competitive Oscar. Tatum later married and divorced tennis great John McEnroe, had several children, and has battled heroin addiction. In later years, Bogdanovich complained that Tatum was difficult to work with; her on-set nickname was reportedly Tantrum. But her performance was outstanding. SOME CRITICS THINK Michael Caine's performance in Phillip Noyce's The Quiet American (2002) was his greatest ever. I'd give a slight edge to his work as the cheerful British ex-soldier in The Man Who Would Be King, but you can see The Quiet American at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The story of a British journalist trying to maintain his humanity, and his young Vietnamese girlfriend in Saigon just as the Americans are becoming more involved in the region, Caine gives the film its heart and soul. The adaptation is extremely faithful to the spirit of Graham Greene's novel, and well worth seeing on the big screen.