Great feel good movie
Salsavideoreviews.org | Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand | 11/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with the other persons review I just want to add some more information about the last ten minutes of this movie.
This movie contains live performances by Zenaida Armenteros con Septet Nacional de Ignacio Piñeiro. A founding member of the Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba. Zenaida has sung in the most prestigious clubs in Havana, such as the Tropicana,and appeared as a singer in two other hard to get films, Yambao and Mulata. Zenaida's performance also includes a Master level Salsa Casino dance performance. Ng La Banda also perform in the last minutes.
Because of you may be the only chance most will ever have of
seeing Zenaida perform.
I feel this live performance by Zenaida is worth the price of this movie on it's own for someone interested in a "Salsa" master performer."
The last 10 minutes is worth the value of the movie!
computer-girl | Texas USA | 04/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I won't recap the essence of the movie as it has been done by the previous reviewers. However, I must emphasize the dance scene with the elderly couple as being one of the best that I ever seen in any movie. The gentleman must be all of 80 years old, yet the strength in his legs defies Western logic.Most 14 year olds could not pull those moves off. You simply MUST see this dance scene! I will be purchasing the movie with this scene in mind."
An Undiscovered Gem
Gerard D. Launay | Berkeley, California | 01/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So many films are written with the idea of pumping up special effects or creating twists and turns to maintain the viewers' interest. Whatever happened to filming a poignant and simple story? This film returns us to an earlier era when just such a movie was possible. A young girl, in Japan, is comforted by an American soldier - born in Cuba - who teaches her the Latin dances of his birthplace. 12 years later, as a young woman, she makes a voyage to America to see this older American friend...but discovers that he is suffering from an advanced stage of AIDS. He can't even recognize her or distinguish truth from fantasy. Undaunted, she decides to learn how to care for this Aids patient (on her own) so that she can drive him from New York City to Miami, all so that her friend can visit his parents in Floriday who he as not seen in a long time. (Perhaps they rejected his homosexuality) How the world views the outcast and infirm - the throw aways of society -is part of the film, true. But the road trip is a beautiful movie about the meaning of friendship and courage and connectedness. (If you enjoyed the surprise Japanese sleeper hit: "Afterlife", you will also be enchanted by this film). Well worth seeing."
Ryu Murakami can do anything. Including make movies.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 08/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Because of You (Ryu Murakami, 1995)
There's a point you will come to when you're watching Because of You where you will realize that you've seen this movie before. And not just once, a thousand times. This is not a movie where originality of plot ranks high in the reasons why you would want to view it again. Hopefully, however, by the time you reach that point, you won't care.
Ryu Murakami is probably better-known as an author than as a film director in America (he wrote the novel Odishion, turned into the infamous 1999 Takashi Miike film of the same name), but he does excellent work in both fields. His refined sense of the absurd carries over quite nicely onto celluloid, and it's one of the things that separates this flick from the pack. It's the story of Kyoko (Crest of Betrayal's Saki Takaoka, who won a Best Acrtress award at Mainichi's Film Concours for her performance here), a twenty-one-year-old Japanese woman who comes to New York looking for her friend Jose (Carlos Osorio). Jose, stationed in Japan while in the army nine years earlier, had taught Kyoko to dance, and told her to come to New York to see him once she grew up. She gets there and, after a series of misadventures, locates Jose, who is suffering from AIDS-related dementia and remembers nothing about her. In an impulsive act of kindness, she offers to drive him from New York to Miami to be with his family in his final days, not realizing the danger that a young Japanese woman and a Cuban with AIDS will face in the deep South. Despite (or, perhaps, because of) her naivete, however, she finds no shortage of people willing to help her achieve her goal, even those who originally intend her and her passenger harm.
Yeah, it's pretty predictable, and let's face it, it helps that Saki Takaoka is smoking hot, especially when she's dancing (and Murakami, realizing this, gives her plenty of opportunity to dance. The Rumba in the bar should have ended with every male there flinging themselves at her feet). But there's more to this movie than just your basic morality play about trusting the good in everyone you meet. Both Takaoka and Osorio are very good, and the supporting cast also does a fine job. Murakami, while not doing nearly as much as he could have with the material (expanding this eighty-five-minute film would have been a breeze), keeps things compact and on-point, preferring to allow emotional buildup through the characters to making the plot more byzantine. As a result, the movie is better looked at as a study of these two characters realized through their absurd journey, and thus the two characters themselves are the focal point of the movie; it works if they work. And they do work. Despite some stereotyping for dramatic effect (it would be a major spoiler to reveal what I'm talking about, but you'll know it when you see it), both Kyoko and Jose are deeply-felt, well-rounded characters. You may never get to identify with them, but you should at least get to like them well enough that the movie packs the emotional punch it's meant to. I liked this movie very much, and recommend it without hesitation. ****