Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy New Year!

Look at it as a humorous insightful commentary on China in modernity. Jay Chou rapping with a little break-dancing kid (who's probably kick-ass at wushu) about medicinal herbs in front of a giant dancing ginseng, and then traditional drums, trimmed with LED's, beaten on by nun-chucks.

As a child, I was given a necklace with 卿 (prime minister) inscribed on one side of a gold pendant and Zhuge Liang on the other side, and told that Zhuge Liang, the master of statecraft, would watch over me and protect me.

Red Cliff is highly aesthetic, both in the Inara dimension (palace scenes feel like Hero) and the action-dripping-with-style dimension (visualize Infernal Affairs). Musically, well-composed. In the Zhuge Liang and Zhou Yu musical duet scene, you really can decipher their communications by listening to them play. ("But, sir, you haven't even talked about the war.") But the pacing of the film is more reminiscent of Baraka. A lot of time is spent carefully setting up the scene, building up the action, methodically hanging Chekhov's guns on the wall, an air of 'just-bear-with-me-a-moment-longer' anticipation. And when you think that which you are looking forward to is about to happen, you see in bright red calligraphy: "to be continued."

If I searched my memory carefully, I might have recalled seeing two posters for Red Cliff one for each installation of the two-part film, but in the intervening time, it had truly slipped my mind. But seriously, what is it about an aesthetic cliff-hanger that jerks us forward by the wrists until it's difficult even to return a proper glare to the source of the motion? And to quote someone else's review of Red Cliff II: Those who had lamented the lack of big battle sequences in the first film, well, you can continue to lament as this one only had ONE which takes up almost the last hour.

Current music: Faye Wong - Ban Tu Er Fei

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