Diary

18/10/2017

What I’ve been watching

1. Un Flic (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1972)

2. An Inn at Osaka ‘大阪の宿’ (Heinosuke Gosho, 1954)

  • Deeply sad and melancholic of the disappointment in the post-war Japan, Osaka is the portal for the macroscopic view of the social structure where unemployment and poverty are a norm among the lower class, while the inn is the site for microscopic scrutiny on human relationship and indifference.
  • IMO the female characters are the main focus of the film, no matter the geisha or the maid or the inn owner, they reminisced Naruse’s tragic, resilient women (particularly Flowing); whereas the male side characters are either ineffectual and dependent or greedy and unsympathetic. We view the disillusioned Japan through the eyes of the central protagonist Mita (Sano Shuji), witnessing his realisation of disappointment and the failure of idealism. But the film never lost its light-heartedness and still retained a glimpse of hope even at the worst possible moment, not by a miracle resolution but by the understanding that one is never alone in this dispiriting world.

3. Typhoon Club ‘台風クラブ’ (Shinji Somai, 1985) 

  • Coming of age; disappointment and confusion; uncertainty of future; uncontrollable sexual desire; outburst of physical violence; pain and fear of growing up; restlessness and anxiety; unreasonable and deranged behavior; irresponsible adults; 80s music and vibe; raging wind and rain; existential crisis; destruction and rebirth.

4. The Kingdom and the Beauty ‘江山美人’ (Li Han-Hsiang, 1959)

  • For all the lavish set piece and lyrical music, we have an obnoxiously romanticized one night stand between the childlike Emperor and the naive peasant woman Li Feng, but the true hero in this film is Ta Niu (played by the adorably young looking King Hu), the selfless man who obviously has a fondness to Li Feng and willing to find the heartless Emperor for her. The film is more like an unfulfilled love fantasy than a tragedy owning to the impenetrable class barrier.

5. The Love Eterne ‘梁山伯與祝英台’ (Li Han-Hsiang, 1963)

  • Gender subversion meshed with Chinese opera and a Romeo and Juliet love story, the characters basically sing all their feelings out in lyrics loud and clear. I respect the traditional Chinese art form (Huangmei diao) more than fondness.

Criterion Collection 2018 January release:

  • I absolutely LOVE Breakfast Club, one of the best teen movie ever, so I’m really excited it’s the first release of the year;
  • I own the Young Mr Lincoln DVD, watched it and thought it’s a decent John Ford film, an upgrade is a nice chance for a rewatch;
  • For all the sympathetic social concern and political statement in I, Daniel Blake, it is a manipulative film that I appreciate the message but not the technique;
  • G.W. Pabst’s two silent films Westfront 1918 and Kameradschaft would be my most excited pick if I have not owned the recent Master of Cinema release already (in a bargained single package);
  • Out-of-nowhere release, a Eclipse boxset of 4 films by Claude Autant-Lara? French Romances made under German occupation? Not my interest, I will wait for the FilmStruck streaming instead.

Latest Addition to My “Top Films” List

  • 1954: An Inn at Osaka (Heinosuke Gosho // Japan)
  • 1985: Typhoon Club (Shinji Somai// Japan)
  • 1994: Before the Rain (Milcho Manchevski // Macedonia)
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