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A Few Updates

20 July 2012 | Others | by David Zou

I have not updated this blog for almost a month now,so what have I been doing? Well,July is crazy for me. I’m about to take driving license test,so I spent many time reading the textbook.Also,me and my wife was planning a trip to Hong Kong and Thailand,which starts at the end of this month,and lasts over 2 weeks.Besides,taking marriage photos took us a lot of money.So,I tried to set up a part-time job to earn extra money in order not to wind up in the streets after we come back from the journey.All in all,it’s a busy and challenging month,and I love it,because I really had the feeling that I had lived my life to the fullest.Under the background of the latest Denver cinema shooting crime,this lifestyle means  more than ever to me.

Despite my free time were mostly occupied by all the trivia stuff,I still managed to watch several quality films,I would like to report some of them here in brief words:

The Leopard

leopard

Watching Visconti’s grand epic in Criterion Blu-ray is the best thing you can do since missing the opportunity of seeing it on the big screen,the restoration is amazing,you need this kind of high-def images to really appreciate how detailed the director and art director had decorated the palace to the most realistic possible.This is my second viewing so this time I can have a more focused POV on the character of Prince Salina,played by the brilliant American Burt Lancaster.This film is really only about him,if you are distracted by the history background too much,you will miss the point.It’s a film about a noble man who is forced to lower his status to comprise to the era,and fall into the abyss of corruption of the soul.Lancaster’s performance is a top one in his career,and the essence of this film,this triumph of characterization is the collaboration of the producer(his idea of casting Lancaster),the director(Lancaster imitates him as a noble man),and the Italian dub(Lancaster’s own voice  is too “weak” for the role).I have to say,this is one of my fave epics ever and easily one of my top 10 Criterion releases.

The French Cancan

french cancan

I love Buzz Luhrman’s version of Moulin Rouge but original flavor has to be delivered by the native director,who is a better one than Jean Renoir? Who could achieve humanity effortlessly even in a musical like this,and shot the carnival-like climax dancing scene with such energy in technicolor? For me this film is millions times better than another Renoir film,The River,which is also in the Collection,some of the real-life observations are dead-on in the film,and the characters are all vividly portrayed and mesmerizing.The only thing I want to complain is the director is not in it,I think he is a pretty interesting actor.

The Mirror & Sacrifice 

the mirror

The mirror is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen,easily.Things go slow enough in Tarkovsky’s films so you can fully appreciate each frame(sometimes each sentence of the poem) without playing backward.Nobody can display one’s memory in the dream-like form like him,and I do think his films are the ones closest to the art form of poems.You won’t miss the beauty if you watch them as poems,which means feeling it through without trying to figure out what some of the specific images are about.

When it comes to his final film Sacrifice,something goes wrong for me.The poetic dialogue free scenes are gone,and people talk too much,it’s not his style.I can understand why he did that,when a person got old,he had many things to convey,his regrets,depression,and a little bit hope,things got more realistic and less nostalgia.That’s why he gave up his style and did a different film.

Four Flies on Grey Velvet

fourfliesongreyvelvet

This is not a great experience for me,the reason I single it out is trying to say the more Argento films I watch,the less I think of him as a genre filmmaker,especially under the prestigious name of “Italian Hitchcock”. Hitchcock’s films are much more than suspense,the glamour of the characters,the wit in the dialogues and the carefully-built plots,all guarantee that you can enjoy the film even before the final secret is revealed.While what Argento have in his films are only great horror atmosphere and shocking endings,the set-up plot is always too weak to build audience’s emotions and expectations.

So much for today and I will continue the report tomorrow,stay tuned!!

 

 

 


   

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  • Welcome back! The Leopard and French Cancan are two of my favorite Blu-rays. I also agree with you about The Mirror (one of Tarkovsky’s best) and The Sacrifice (one of his worst). Someone really needs to put out a good quality version of The Mirror on Blu.
    Have fun in Hong Kong and Thailand. I fully expect a photo diary of your visits to Wong Kar-Wai movie locations when you return!

    • Thanks for the welcome,Mike. The Leopard Blu-ray is insanely good. I haven’t got the BFI Blu-ray of The French Cancan,only saw the Criterion DVD,the upgrade is so necessary.My The Mirror dvd is a Korean version, I guess it’s the best so far.

      I WILL definitely visit some WKW film locations in HK,your post of this subject is magnificent I remember,so I will try to post one too.

  • I’m hoping I know what your next update will be. Take your time, though.

    http://1001plus.blogspot.com/2012/07/ich-liebe-dich-part-ii.html

    • Thanks for the baton,Steve,it looks that I just came back in time.I will finish it before I leave for HK.

  • I just bought a copy of The Sacrifice a few weeks ago as I”m doing Tarkovsky next month for my Auteurs profile.

    I’m glad you liked The Leopard. A truly gorgeous and heartbreaking film.

    • Nice,I will try to finish the left relatively long Tarkovsky films and catch up with your Auteur piece,your careful preparation for your posts is really second to none,man.

      The Leopard,again,is everything an epic should be,PERFECT.