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Posts tagged ‘Chinese Films’


Photo Play – Red Cliff (2008)


contemplating war

Red Cliff (2008)

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On DVD/Blu-ray – Let the Bullets Fly (2011)


“Pocky” Zhang (Jiang Wen), a notorious bandit, robs a train that’s transporting a man who’s soon to be inaugurated as governor. He assumes the identity of that man and with the help of his newly acquired counselor Ma Bangde (Ge You), they ride on to Goose Town where Zhang takes up the governor’s position. However, Goose Town’s tyrannical local nobleman Master Huang (Chow Yun-Fat) plays mind games with Zhang from the get-go. Together with his six brothers, Zhang starts a war of wits and periodical gunfights with Huang. (Almost every character in the film is equipped with the Luger pistol, later to be popularized by the Germans.) Only one will survive. Read more »


Silent Reflections – Red Heroine (1929)


Reading about Chinese silent films made me realize how fortunate I am as someone who loves the American silent cinema. Many American films have been lost and there are painful gaps in the record- major films, entire careers of important early artists– but many, many films still exist. I could spend a couple of years in concentrated viewing of just the American silents that have been released on DVD, and those represent only a small fraction of the extant material. In contrast, few Chinese silent films are extant even though the Chinese silent film industry, based in Shanghai, was a vibrant, prolific cinema for over a decade. Chinese film heritage has been almost completely lost to the universal enemies of film preservation, neglect and decay, and the even more potent destructive forces of political suppression and armed conflict. Read more »


DVD of the Week – Review of Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)


My friends may be surprised to see me promoting the recently released Curse of the Golden Flower as DVD of the week. I was unenthusiastic after I saw it on its theatrical release, rating it emotionally uninvolving and a failure as a drama. As director Zhang Yimou’s follow-up to contemporary masterpieces House of Flying Daggers and Hero, it was a terrible disappointment. On the other hand, they may not be surprised, because I also extolled it as a triumphant cinematic achievement of awesome and haunting beauty. That paradox is what makes Curse of the Golden Flower an interesting movie to write about and my selection in a week that has no new releases we wanted to recommend. Read more »