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Shi mian mai fu (House of Flying Daggers) - 나는 한국 사람이 아니다 [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
한국 사람이 아니다

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Shi mian mai fu (House of Flying Daggers) [Dec. 17th, 2004|09:41 pm]
한국 사람이 아니다
[Current Mood |hungryhungry]
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I was telling my dad that I'd just seen Shi mian mai fu (House of Flying Daggers), and he said he didn't really like "all those Kung-Fu movies." "Too much sword action," he said.
"Well," I said, "That is kind of true...but you have to understand the culture and the style of the films. Here, this will help. You know how, in a musical, where people randomly break out in song and exquisitely choreographed dance numbers? And sometimes it has nothing to do with the story? Well, this is the Chinese version of that."
"I can see that," he said. "But the plots are awful thin."
"Right," I said. "Just like a musical."

And it's accurate, especially in this latest from Yimou Zhang (who also gave us the lovely Hero). It's lusciously filmed, romantic, tragic and...there's a lot of random fu. It's your basic lover's triangle with a bit of West Side Story. We have a beautiful and strong heroine and two handsome leading men (especially fascinating is Kaneshiro Takeshi, part Taiwanese and part Japanese. I'd not seen him before and I think I need to see more). It's the visual equivalent of Teramisu. Like most Wuxia (martial arts) films with romance, the end isn't a happy one. Think Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet. But it is a beautiful one.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: maggiesox
2004-12-18 02:57 am (UTC)
PS: Sox got Clement.
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-12-18 02:59 am (UTC)
LOL! Yay!

But I still want Nomo...
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[User Picture]From: maggiesox
2004-12-18 03:01 am (UTC)
I don't think he's coming, although I can see why that would make you a v. happy girl.

I'm just pleased we finally are getting pitching.
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-12-18 04:19 pm (UTC)
My friend Jean (who urged me to see this) emailed me this:
Wuxia (pr. wu-sha) means "Sword Fantasy" which is a specific form of literature.
Like gothic romance, it has its own set of rules.

Wuxia films have evolved their own visual exaggerations of the powers of the swords and martial arts skills and developed their own cinematic language (much like opera- which is an even better comparison as Wuxia is so melodramatic. besides, chinese opera integrates acrobatics as well as singing and dancing).

There usually is a sword passed on (usually from one generation to another) at the center of the story. It can be the focus of the story or simply that "one yields the sword the fallen
father, which yielded with the right skill might make you fly, etc etc etc".

A lot of these things are "taken as read" in Chinese films, much the same way we don't waste anymore time explaining what vampires are in modern horror movies.

I liked House a lot. I find it only suffers when compared to Hero which I found better structured and more fluid in execution. House's multi-layered deceit structure made for a more uneven film where it goes from o-hum to gasp in just a few seconds. Simply said, the whole experience never adds to more than the sum of the set pieces. But what set pieces they are though!

The team ups the ante from the two previous entries by these producers. This time, it's not Chow and Ziyi hanging on awkwardly to the tops of their bamboos but an entire platoon of soldiers sailing across the high forrest.

Did you catch in in a theatre or didja score a DVD in Chi'town?
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[User Picture]From: katie_ah
2004-12-20 04:11 am (UTC)

Kaneshiro Takeshi

...is really good in Chungking Express and Fallen Angels, which I highly reccommend if you need to see more of him. ;) He's also good in the Returner, which isn't a fabulous movie, but good enough for eye candy.
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-12-20 05:58 am (UTC)

Re: Kaneshiro Takeshi

Hmmmm...I shall have to look into those! Thanks!
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