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April Reviews and May Plans

03 May 2012 | Others | by David Zou

April Reviews

April has been the biggest month so far this year in terms of the amount of films I watched,out of 31 in total,I have watched 18 for the first time and re-visited 13.There are 3 major “achievements” here:

 

Cult films:

Every once in a while,I’m in the mood for some bad taste films.Watching them are always lots of fun and I don’t have to think about the deep meanings in it.You can check 6 Cult Films I Saw This Month.One film is missing here,the hilarious Borat,I feel the need to mention him here because this guy is so funny.

 

Two amazing trilogies:

Which are Sergio’s Leone’s Dollar Trilogy and Kieslowski’s Three Colors Trilogy,These two sets just keep being refreshing every time I saw them,this month I spent another 13 hours watching them again with two experts(Christopher Frayling and Annette Insdorf) commentary tracks,it was just like watching new films.I wrote two detailed pieces for each trilogy: Sergio Leone is Spaghetti Western and Three Colors Blue: Through the Grief Darkly.I might compose another entry about Red this weekend,let’s see if we can have it.

 

Johnnie To films:

I was not a To fan last month,but after watching and re-watching 6 awesome films from him this month,I am a die-hard fan now.I hope his films can reach a larger Western demographic.Here is my tribute to him:Auteur Profile: Johnnie To and His Milky Way Image.

 

CC&MOC

This month has been a pretty weak month for CC&MOC viewing.I’ve only watched 2 films from CC,Jules Dassin’s Night and the City is one of the highlights of this month,if To is the great master of crime/gangster genre,Dassin is definitely the one who nails the Noir genre.The other CC is Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu,it’s really amazing how the reality and fantasy transform to each other without the audience knowing it,but the story did not work for me,it’s too predictable and lack of drama.

 

May Plans

There is a saying in China that “Spring is not the season for reading”,it certainly not a season for too much film-viewing either.I have been taking a walk with my wife in the neighborhood everyday after dinner since the beginning of this month,movie time is reduced,but it’s ok,I will catch up in the winter.

That being said,there will be some big moves this month,including:

 

The Artificial Eye Kenji Mizoguchi Blu-ray Collection:

This early Mizoguchi set is extra-free,but what more can you ask if you got the high-def discs of a cinema master who is known as shooting beautiful picture?

 

Francis Ford Coppola Re-watch:

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of The Godfather,the only way I can pay tribute to the all-time-classic is watching it again with the rest two in the trilogy.Kubrick said after the 10th viewing,he admitted this is the greatest film ever made in cinema history,well,I buy it,he is my hero.To fully explore the great master’s artistry and cinematic language,I’m gonna also re-watch his Apocalypse Now and Conversation,those are some of the finest American films so I need to watch them more times.

 

CC&MOC

Thanks to those who made suggestions in My CC&MOC Watchlist ,I’ve found my target,the ones I plan to watch are sets like Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales,Antonioni’s trilogy,lengthy ones like Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler and Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles,I might also explore some directors I did not know well like Rossellini and Bresson.

 

Chinese Films

Yes,when a blogger is Chinese,it did not make sense that the majority of the films mentioned on his blog are not Chinese.Since CC&MOC seems to have forgotten the existence of Chinese cinema,and there aren’t many Chinese blogger around writing English blogs,I will take the responsibility to spread the culture.I will try to write reviews of less-known Chinese classics like Li’s The Love Eterne,Hu’s Raining in the Mountain,Jia’s Xiaowu,Yang’s The Terrorizers etc.If you’d  like to read anything about a certain Chinese film,let me know,I might write it.

 

This month I received two insightful pieces about two sci-fi classics(The Matrix and Blade Runner) from guest blogger Kevin,and a list of 10 Great Travel Films of the 21st Century,thanks to them again here and I’m expecting more dynamics from you guys,yes,you,my dear readers.My last list 16 Brilliant Movie Quotes from 16 Great Directors received nearly 5k hits in a week,it’s a huge encouragement for me to keep on writing more valuable lists. I decided to extend the sampling duration of my weekly recap to half a month,so no for this week but see you next week.Finally,I’m gonna give out some insights about my next week’s writing schedule for you to expect,there will be two lists in a row,they are more about people than film,take a guess!!

 

 

 


   

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  • The “Trois Couleurs” and “Dollars” Trilogy are Favorite Film subjects I plan to write on. The latter this coming summer and the former this fall.
    All I’m doing this May is watch some films for my Cannes Marathon from the 16th to the 27th.

    • Oh,the Cannes Marathon is awesome,I’m expecting you write about it.Enjoy!!

  • I’m glad to hear you’ll be writing about more Chinese films. I love The Love Eterne and many other Hong Kong films of the 50s and 60s. I’m interested to know what you think the best classic films from the Mainland are. I’m mostly unfamiliar with anything prior to the so-called “fifth generation.”

    It’s going to be a very French next couple of weeks at White City Cinema. Stay tuned . . .

    • Mike,I’m afraid the fifth generation is as far as I can go… I need more time to explore the Mainland film before that period,but the lack of proper DVD distribution always frustrated me.I think I can introduce some mainland directors who’s still working today but less known in the Western world,like Jiangwen and Louye.

      French cinema is great,I guess there will be an another Primer?

      • Yep, I’m going to do a classic French cinema primer (from the early sound era up to the beginning of the New Wave).
        The only classic Mainland Chinese films I’ve seen are Crows and Sparrows and Spring in a Small Town (both from the 1940s). I plan on trying to watch a lot more.