East Screen / West Screen #5 (repost)







This week Kevin and I discuss Hong Kong’s selection of Yon Fan’s new film for the Oscars, censorship cases in Hong Kong, and Film Festivals.  And somewhere in the mix we discuss the following films;


(Running time – 00:58:37)

7 thoughts on “East Screen / West Screen #5 (repost)”

  1. Nice to hear some relevant criticism of Sophie’s Revenge and its lead actress. I thought the film was awful, not even falling into the “remotely funny” category. The shameless mugging and shallow characters just killed it for me, as well as the boring story. Nevermind that it totally disregards real, emotional pain from a breakup.

    1. Thanks for your comments Max. I think Kevin kinda nailed most people’s reaction to the film and would tend to agree with your take. I am a bit of a sucker for romantic comedies, so I did not mind the mugging quite so much (though I agree that it was shameless 😉 ). PS. Excellent avatar pic 😀

  2. Thanks a bunch, Fox! I certainly won’t fault you for liking rom-coms. I’m a sucker for some pretty mushy stuff myself, especially Japanese dramas. Please feel free to visit my site if you have the inclination!


  3. Totally confused, troubled, excited by “Sophie’s Revenge.” I’ve been watching Taiwanese director Robin Lee (Shoe Fairy, Magical Washmachine, that DNA garbage) attempt this candy-colored, Amelie-whirlwind rom-com to little success, so to see a first-timer do it with a sufficient sense of pace and fun is sobering. And while Gong Li is a more natural comedian (see: Flirting Scholar), Zhang Ziyi is up to the challenge, mugging wide, mugging hard, and mugging to make us laugh even if it means being totally awkward. Who else would be willing to test how far we’d let her dive into ridiculousness?

    I’m just gagging on the fact that westernization and democratization in urban China means hyper-consumerism at the speed of jump cuts and with the cuteness of flashy scene transitions and CGI. Not that it should surprise anybody who’s been to China. But to see it as the cine-spectacle bubble-wrap for a supposed declaration of a post-feminist, anti-tradition power trip makes me miss the modest but smart-alecky comedies of Feng Xiaogang, whose films I don’t even like all that much.

    That said, how good was Fan Bingbing? Hilarious! Kevin got it perfectly… how best to channel everything everyone hates about movie divas than to bitchily mock your equally-hated co-star! Bette Davis eat your heart out.

    Lastly, after the first 20 minutes, anyone else think this was going to be a remake of the Saif Ali Khan / Rani Mukherjee romance “Hum Tum,” about a sensitive cartoonist who wrote a graphic novel about a troubled but hilarious romantic episode and will now spend the movie re-enacting it for us?

    1. Good points Brian. I found that the upper-class consumerism and lifestyles on display present some real conflicting issues with regard to old school ‘class struggle’ ideology. Would be interesting to see the reception of the film screened out in western China (say Xian and further) where lifestyles are not nearly as luxurious. But I think Kevin kinda nailed it when he said that they never really label this story to any particular city. So in a sense perhaps it becomes a hopeful every-city of ‘future’ China… Hey, maybe that makes this an ‘alternative reality’ sci-fi film 😉 As far as Bing-Bing’s go, I have always been more of a fan of Li Bing Bing over Ms. Fan, but I do agree she was perfect for the role. Have not seen Hum Tum, but will keep an eye out for it. Currently the only Bollywood film I have waiting in the wings is Love Story 2050, which I finally managed to locate (though I have heard from friends is rather terrible).

  4. Yes, the any-city point is well taken. I’d go further to add that this future-China not only leaves places like Xian in the dust, but has more to do with Taiwan (through the love interest) and South Korea (through the inter-textual associations) — Asian countries in a more “advanced” state of consumerism if you will. Perhaps that’s the fantasy.

    By the way, where do you get Bollywood DVDs in Hong Kong? I normally find the not-that-legal-looking editions on the ground level of Chungking Mansions. Know any better places? Or better yet, is there a theater that plays new releases?

    1. You’ve pretty much found a prime spot to get Bollywood films in Hong Kong. There are similar small shops scattered throughout places in Kowloon and NT, but I tend just to stumble across them, nothing so centralized as what you would find over at Chungking Mansions. For films from the Philippines, there is a similar setup over at levels 2 and 3 of World Wide House Building in Central. Though here too the ‘legitimacy’ is questionable.

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