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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

U.S., foreign films touch heart, mind

By Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times

It's been a great year for high-quality Hollywood movies and for foreign films.

South Korean cinema is fresh and exciting right now but has yet to break out of noncommercial and festival venues. Its highly touted Oscar entry "Oasis," a tale of outcast lovers, may change all that.

European cinema remains healthy, Iran continues to produce risky — politically and artistically — pictures, and minority voices are being heard in national cinemas worldwide.

With "Lan Yu," Hong Kong veteran Stanley Kwan set a heartfelt gay love story against Tiananmen Square and its aftermath that had such scope and meaning it was as relevant to straight audiences as gay ones.

On home ground, "Real Women Have Curves" and "Barbershop" emerged as inspired, insightful ethnic comedies that included everyone in their warm embraces.

There have been so many exciting documentaries this year that it would be hard to list them all, but in light of the current and high-profile "Bowling for Columbine," such earlier 2002 releases as "The Cockettes" or "The Kid Stays in the Picture" should not be overlooked.