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Zipping: Hero

I should explain for my non-Canadian readers that "Zip" is the Canadian equivalent of "Netflix," a service you subscribe to that sends you dvd's through the mail. It rocks. I don't know why it motivates me more than simply going to the video store up the road, but there's something nifty about getting little envelopes in the mail and being surprised by what they sent you today. You put in a list of all the things that in an ideal world you'd like to see, and they send them as they become available and as you free up space in your borrowing limit - I've chosen the "4 at a time" plan, but right now have a free trial thing happening, so I have about six out at the moment. There's no return deadline; they just don't send you another one until you send one back.

Anyway, last night I watched Hero, which I'd never seen. I wish I had seen it on the big screen, because every single shot is a thing of absolute beauty. I think the music was written by the same guy who wrote the soundtrack for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and I still have its stately minor key cadences drifting through the back of my brain. There is a lot of billowing silk and several fights involving flying swordsmen. It didn't move me as much as CTHD (which completely knocked me sideways), but I could appreciate its beauty and the very Romantic idealism of its plot. Although the motivations of some of the characters were slightly confusing (especially "Snow," if you remember who that is), it all seemed ultimately to be about sacrificing everything for a Higher Good, which can't be bad. Although, on reflection, I realize that the Romantic Ideals seemed to be held by men, and the women (like Snow, and the character played by Zhang Ziyi) had slightly less noble and more small r romantic motives. Not sure whether to be offended, or to remember that I always figured that being a Romantic Hero is a Guy thing. It (the movie) reminded me somewhat of Yellow Earth, which is by a different filmmaker again (Chen Kaige. Hero is by Zhang Yimou), but shared its terse dialogue, gorgeous visual imagery and idealistic, mythic storyline (except, there, it's the girl who makes the great Noble Sacrifice).



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
I really liked Hero. It was beautifully done, I thought.
Dec. 14th, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
It was very exquisite filmmaking, yes. I've now ordered "House of Flying Daggers," so that will be fun, too.
Dec. 14th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
I love getting DVDs through the mail too; will add this one!

Oh, I want women to get to be uppercase R romantic heroes too! Please don't let it be a guy thing.

Actually, maybe it's Yellow Earth I need to get, if that's got a girl who makes the great Noble Sacrifice. Heck, I can request both.

My husband will be saying, what's with the Chinese films all of a sudden?
Dec. 14th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
Yellow Earth is a wonderful movie. It's very spare and visual in its storytelling. I saw it in China, in Chinese (without subtitles) and still managed to understand completely what was going on. It still haunts me, actually.

I think when I say that being a Romantic Hero is a guy thing, I'm thinking more of the rather extreme aspects of it - Byron and co. That's rather an interesting topic to explore: what the female equivalent of Byron would be... Maybe Starbuck? Maybe that's what I like about her?
Dec. 18th, 2007 07:15 am (UTC)
Yes! What would it be (slow in response... sorry... a conversation in very slow motion...), I wonder.

Starbuck has it in her bravado that's more than bravado. I've only seen the first two seasons (and maybe only to the halfway mark of season two--SO behind), so my examples come from early on--but her willingness to go back for the arrow of Apollo feels right.

She also takes risks and dares fate to let her fall--which fits.
Dec. 18th, 2007 07:20 am (UTC)
And dang dang dang! Would you believe Netflix doesn't have Yellow Earth? It has five movies by Chen Kaige but not that one. Grr. This happened once before when I wanted a Chinese movie.

Netflix is deficient :-(

I requested "The Emperor and the Assassin" as a consolation prize...
Dec. 19th, 2007 12:45 am (UTC)
"Zip" doesn't have it either; maybe it's not out on dvd?
I've only seen as much of BSG as you have, I think (except I've definitely seen all of Season 2). Speaking of things not being out on dvd...
Dec. 19th, 2007 07:43 am (UTC)
That could be it--not yet on DVD.
Dec. 15th, 2007 05:22 am (UTC)
I have loved several of Zhang Yimou's movies (or Yimou Zhang), particularly Raise the Red Lantern and Ju Dou, both of which are heartbreaking and spectacularly beautiful. I was trying to remember the name of the second one and looked him up and found that he also made a charming and touching (and far less mythic) movie I saw called Happy Times. He was the cinematographer for Yellow Earth, as it turns out, which I haven't seen but which I shall check out now based on your recommendation. I liked what'shisname's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but I get a little tired of the fight scenes. For me, the small moments between people are more inherently fascinating. I would like to see Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles. Isn't that a good title?

Edited at 2007-12-15 05:24 am (UTC)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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