Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Aswoon in Color

Happy Solstice! The prospect of more light to come always cheers me up, as does a good movie.

A core sense that informs every creative endeavor I attempt, would be color as well as light.

As far as I am concerned if the colors aren't "right" the rest doesn't matter, say in a fabulous ballet danced beautifully, if the costumes are off I can barely enjoy the performance, this sense is that strong in me.

I watched the DVD of the movie Hero this last week and was positively swooning at the use of color, as if it were the narrative line, as if it were the protagonist.

Andrew, who I dragged to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the theater after having seen a trailer of the fight scenes didn't quite get the movie, a friend's wife also found it dull and uninteresting.

Maybe it was those pivotal teenage years in Seattle where Bruce Lee worship was rampant, or my background in dance and the wire flying but I felt like the visual part of Hero was made just for me. Stunningly beautiful.

(I do think Andrew would have like the fight scene in the chess house in the rain; he certainly has played enough coffeehouse chess in the rain to appreciate the finer points of that scene.)

The story, however, particularly at the end, I found profoundly disturbing. Echoes of a grand scheme of consolidation and unification for the greater good, gone bad, with cultures destroyed and a world of suffering echo through into today's headlines.

Two days later I watched The House of Flying Daggers made by the same director Yimou Zhang. It also beautiful but a very different movie. This is a classic tragic love story with much intense horse riding through the woods back towards what might have been. While Hero was made with a Western release in mind this movie is more deeply and traditionally Chinese.

I liked Hero more, thought it had a freshness, an energy about it and also it took risks and allowed itself to be huge and disturbing.

Art does that.

The acting (and fighting) is great in both movies, everybody is interesting to look at. I'd say the eye candy factor with the half Japanese, half Chinese and multilingual Takeshi Kaneshiro in The House of Flying Daggers is off the map. Excellent romantic entertainment.



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