Archive for March, 2003

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Posted By yonghow on March 29th, 2003

In 1971, Mao’s Cultural Revolution swept over China, shutting down universities and banishing “reactionary intellectuals”, boys and girls who had graduated from high school, to the countryside to be “re-educated” by the poor peasants. This is the backdrop for Dai Sijie’s Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, a beautifully shot movie depicting the experiences of Ma ( who is actually a depiction of Dai Sijie himself ) and Luo sent to a remote mountain village The Phoenix, where they met a local tailor’s daughter known only as the little seamstress. Caught in the daily, menial routines of labor and re-education, the trio sought little escapades and delight in reading the literary works of western authors like Balzac and Gogol, plus playing music on Ma’s violin, calling sonata names like “Mozart is Thinking of Mao” to convince the local authorities that the merrymaking is Mao-worthy. One can argue that while the potential for underlying political or satirical messages can be numerous and varied, I was more obsessed ( and contented ) to simply indulge myself in the richly filmed scenery of the mountains and textures of the villages, the soothing music, both of local taste as well as western, the tunes of the violin forming a strange, yet binding aural dichotomy in the face of a complete asian setting.

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Miyazaki’s Spirited Away wins Oscars

Posted By yonghow on March 24th, 2003

I was earnestly happy today when I heard on the radio that Miyazaki’s Spirited Away has won the Oscars for best animation feature. Whilst its nice to get some decent recognition from western audiences, Miyazaki’s films have simply transcended the need for any awards to justify its merit, and I would support it, Oscars or none. I eagerly await their next animation feature, and hopefully, with Miyazaki himself at the helm again.

Posted in Animation
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