Sunday, September 29, 2002

"The Way Home", directed by Lee Jung Hyang, is a neat little Korean movie. Sang Woo, a spoonfed kid born in the city of Seoul, makes a reluctant short stint at his grandmother's rural home when his mother departs on an errand. Used to the high life of the city, he dispises his grandmother's "lowly" version of rural life, and one many hilarious and disastrous mini adventures soon follow. While the plot itself is quintessentially simple and linear, plus running at only a little short of 1.5 hours, it nontheless speaks volumes about the unique relationship that is to form between the city bred spoilt brat and his patient, tacit grandmother. Many themes and ideas were alluded though not spoken loudly, this effect accentuated nicely by the non-speaking role of the grandmother whose body language acted as the only narrative device, creating a quiet, unassuming storytelling approach neatly matched by the peaceful rural landscape. No doubt the road to their mutual understanding was a tumultuous one, but what the little boy had reaped in return at the end of his stay I envy for it is something I feel, on a more personal note, I have never achieved with my own grandmother.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Watching 2 unsettling shows in one evening is no joke. Wim Wenders Wings of Desire wasn't exactly easy to understand in parts with its poetic lines and in Tsai Ming Liang's What Time is it there ? with its adamant treatment of static shots, had me screaming in my mind just waiting for something to happen on screen. After the show I struggled to convince my mind and eyes that things really do move more often and hope that the show hadn't burned an after image in my brain like a static screen on a monitor left on for too long.

But latter show still had its fair share of interesting parts to balance up its visual rigidity. Here is an excerpt from the review in Sight and Sound :

What Time is it there ? is a perfect paradox : hermetic but open, blank but expressive, grim but droll. Focusing on grungy daily routines and another intricate pattern of cross-cutting which suggests 'mystical' links between seemingly unrelated events. The emphasis in this film is on bereavement and mourning, and the splitting of the action between two continents. As usual in his later films, Tsai sets out the terms of his conundrum with deadpan wit and undercurrents of dark humour. The notion of 'time difference' - the seven hours that separate Taipei and Paris in winter - yields the string of sight gags in which Tsai's fetish actor Li Kang Sheng roams Taipei resettling clocks to Paris time. ( since there is no plot as such, the escalating risk and absurdity of this quest provides the momentum needed to carry the film through its entire central section. ) But the film also proposes at least two other ways of thinking about 'time difference'. One is the gap between youth and old age, embodied here by Jean-Pierre Leaud, who appears as the young Antoine Doniel in a Truffaut clip and as 'dubious old man in cemetery' when he gives his phone numner to the defenceless Shiang Chyi. The other is the gap between the living and the dead, embodied in the mother's batty idea that her late husband's spirit has come home in a different time zone - and idea obliquely confirmed by the film's enigmatic ending.

The only material link between Hsiao kang in Taipei and Shiang Chyi in Paris is a wristwatch that shows two time zones; it may or may not also house the wandering spirit of Hsiao Kang's father. From this one small object, Tsai extrapolates both the parallels which structure the cross-cutting ( a modern columbarium in Taipei, a 19th century cemetery in Paris, a road killed dog in Taipei, steak Tartare in Paris, and so on ) and the Big Idea which permeates the film : the possibility that reincarnation maybe (a) literally true (b) poetically credible or (c) a valid metaphor for the process of coming to terms with bereavement. By design, the film ends with a symmetrical shot of a perfect circle - actually the millenium ferries wheel by the Tuileries - connoting both narrative closure and the wished for fantasy of cyclical return.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

leave them out u mean? impossible manzz ... my picture would be imcomplete with no beginning, u see haha!
take akira out oso, every fans hailed it as a classic, isnt it :P or it s just abt how long ago it s made?

Monday, September 09, 2002

thought leave out all the classical must..~~
like citizen kane, 2001, vertigo, seven samurai and plus plus plus
gatchaman..~ entry void..~~~

true ten if not enough, we need more..~~~ slotsss..~~~~~~
wat s next? ten most influential directors?
after my new station is up & running, its internet connection failed with unknown reasons ... i m using internet on my old station now ... haizzzzz!

10 feature films/feature animations that influenced me/or i liked most *which i can remember*
1) citizen kane
2) 2001: a space oddessy
3) battleship potemkin
4) moulin rouge
5) spirited away
6) gattaca
7) once upon a time in china (can put part 1& 2 together save 1 slot ahah!)
8) crouching tiger, hidden dragon
9) christmas in august
10) amelie

actaully, if got somemore slots, i ll put face off, chinese ghost story (movie, not animation), patlabor 1& 2.

Monday, September 02, 2002

Hmmm..~~ Come to think of it, rather hard to state them all down, but, Akira and Ghost in the shell are in my list for sure.~
Here i go..~
1) Akira
2) Ghost in the shell
3) After life.
4) Contact
5) Fargo
6) Totoro
7) Spring subway
8) Panic Room
9) One Fine spring
0) ...~~~

kind of hard when there is like tons of interesting movies and one can onli state ten.~ha.~
guess i'll leave the last one emtpy ..~ rather hard to make up my mind which one to put

Sunday, September 01, 2002

The ten most influential films poll

Recently I was reading up BFI's Sight and Sound magazine special issue on the most influential films in cinematic history. There were a few regular contenders like Welles Citizen Kane, Hitchcock's Vertigo, and Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. That got me thinking quite a bit, and interestingly too : What then, are the ten most influential films for me, as an animation/media student ? By influential I do not just mean favourite movies but in the sense that the movie have had a certain impact in changing the way you look at films, the way you would create a treatment should you be making an animation or film, maybe even the way you look at life. It doesn't even have to be an award winner or anything. And so on. Inspirational stuff. I sorted through my memories archives and came with this ten : ( not in any order of importance )

1) Love Letter ( Iwai )
2) Akira ( Katsuhiro )
3) Ghost in the Shell ( Oshii )
4) Amelie ( Jeunet )
5) Mononoke Hime ( Miyazaki )
6) Gattaca ( Niccol )
7) Il Mare ( Seung )
8) Hackers ( Softley )
9) Contact ( Zemeckis )
x) One Fine Spring Day ( Jinho )

Introspective : Starting out as an animation student, the earliest and biggest influences were obviously animation works, but Akira in itself I percieve more as a sophisticated, stylized work of film art for its unprecented use of avante garde camera works and framing, superb cinematic devices and grand scale of motion. Its also worth noting that other for 3 english shows and 1 french, the rest of the list is dominated by Asian movies/animation for which I feel still exert a very significant influence over the way I look and treat films.

Perhaps evil rei and Gatchaman ( or anyone else that view this blog ) might be interested to cast their own poll for a wider demographic.