East Screen / West Screen #52 – Brains Over Bullets

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Running Time (1:15:45)

Hey! I'm the GOD of gamblers, so why am I being kidnapped by mahjong tiles???

This week Kevin and I ramble off about our favorite and least favorite films of 2010. And we talk about a few new films including the one starring the guy in the potato sack above. We should be back to regular news segments in our next episode.




Interlude – 太陽照常升起 By Joe Hisaishi from The Sun Also Rises soundtrack  (YesAsia Link)





SHAOLIN [新少林寺]

IF YOU ARE THE ONE 2 [非誠勿擾2]

You can email the show at eastscreen at gmail.com

6 thoughts on “East Screen / West Screen #52 – Brains Over Bullets”

  1. Agree that simpler is better when it comes to rating systems. I’m trying to decide if I should pick up Stephen Chow’s “A Chinese Odyssey” and came across a site that scored it a 6.75. Not sure how you tangibly measure a film’s entertainment value out to the hundredths place. 🙂 (Should I get it, by the way? It’s a little pricey for a blind buy.)

    1. A Chinese Odyssey is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s earlier Chow, but it is considered a ‘classic’ among Chow’s filmography by many. But I really hated it when I first watched it (them) in the cinema. It has grown on me over the years though. I think my initial problem with it was I wanted a more straightforward tale about ‘monkey’ and the other Journey to the West characters. I think I ended up liking part II more than part I, and it has a classic song by Law Ka Ying that still makes me laugh every time I watch it. I will ask Kevin to chime in as well to give his thoughts on it. If you do decide to get it be sure your getting both parts (guessing its a set and that makes it pricey).

    2. I liked the Chinese Odyssey films, though it never really stuck in my mind like some of his other films. It is funny and quite smart at points, and it does have really good production design (practical effects over computer graphics!), but I wouldn’t recommend taking on both films unless you’re already a fan of Stephen Chow. If you are, I’m pretty sure you’ll like it.

      Interesting enough, the two films are bigger among Mainland Chinese people than Hong Kong people for some reason.

  2. Yeah, the rating system sounds good… How about adding a theme based favorite pick (east or west screen) for each show, hosts and listeners can all contribute, just a thought…

    I really enjoyed “Let the Bullet Fly” as well, I thought the multi-layered story telling was both entertaining and thought provoking. It’s good to see Jiang Wen made a film that is commercially successful, but manage to stay true to his style and intent. I hope this will encourage directors like Zhang Yimou & Chen Kaige who were once great to once again make films that they really wanna make and in which they really have something to say, instead of making commercial sellouts that only pleases their investors. According to many insiders, so called “commercially successful” Chinese films’ box office figures are often artificially manipulated and inflated.

    The dialog in the film are really well crafted and delivered, some of which I’m sure are lost in translation. There’s an alternate audio track in which the dialogs are in the Sichuan dialect (which is rare for Chinese film to be released in more than one audio tracks), since the novel was set the Sichuan province. After watching both (I am a Sichuan native), I think Sichuanese version is even more entertaining since the dialog adds even another layer to the characters and the story. Just imagine any great Western movies, if the dialogs are spoken without any accent, it would remove that much flavor from the film.

    This is a somewhat bittersweet success for Jiang Wen, since he was banned from directing for 5 years after he submitted Devils on the Doorstep to intl’ film festivals (it won several awards including the 2000 Cannes Film Festival Jury Grand Prize) whiled it was censored by the Chinese SARFT. Imagine how many more film he could’ve made if he didn’t loose that five years.

    I recently came across the SARFT rejection letter for Devils on the Doorstep at the time (for anyone who’s interested and can read Chinese, http://bit.ly/hdJrB8), as a fan of the film, the reasons given for the rejection were both infuriating and hilarious, it just goes to show how insecure the CCP government is. Personally I think Devils on the Doorstep is the best Chinese language film depicting WWII or any war in general. After watching it for numerous times, I’ve manged to intensionally avoid all war related Chinese films, to quote Steven Soderbergh, this film just makes all the others seem “small”.

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