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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • April 06, 2006

     

    San Francisco International Film Festival

    The 49th San Francisco International Film Festival, which features 29 films, will kick off with the Big Opening Night on April 20. This year's selection of the opening night is Peter Ho-Sun Chan's Perhaps. Love (如果‧愛). Premiered in Hong Kong during Christmas 2005, it drew merits and acclaims across the board of critics but not much to the box office, owing to the fact that it's a proxy musical, drama type of film, drastically different from the usual cop-spy thrillers or soapy farces that have pervaded the Hong Kong film industry.

    Peter Chan, who has directed Comrades, Almost a Love Story (SFIFF 1997; Hong Kong 1996), starring Maggie Cheung and Leon Lai, in recent years has shifted toward pan-Asian films including the highly controversial Thai production Jan Dara (2001), and Three...Extremes (2004). Perhaps, Love embraces the love trangle of three people spanned over time. It is told through a kaleidoscope of flashbacks and lavish film-within-a-film musical numbers. It is set in Shanghai and Beijing, featuring a ravishing pan-Asian all-star cast, including Hong Kong singer/actor Jacky Cheung (July Rhapsody), Chinese actress Zhou Xun (Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress), Japanese heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro (House of Flying Daggers, Chungking Express) and Korean film and TV star Ji Jin-Hee (If You Were Me).

    The story might be a little slow but Perhaps Love is one of those rare films so visually impressive that you cut literally take it apart frame by frame and not find a single weak image. The images on screen are simply stunning. Rounding out the quartet of lead stars is Korean actor Ji Jin-Hee as Monty, the film's narrator and lone fantasy element. Monty bookends the film with his explanation of purpose: basically, he's an emotional tax collector (or maybe a memory cop) whose purpose is to return emotions or memories to those who have forgotten or denied them.

    The first thing that appealed to me when I heard about Peter Chan's planning of Perhaps, Love was the thing that hinges on the movie's flaw. Movie musical seldom pleases. Movie musicals are seldom known for their amazing stories, but instead for how they marry song, dance, and drama into a coherent, and hopefully enchanting whole. Unfortunately for Perhaps Love, that is where things hit a bit of a snag. The film features many musical sequences, but they are all set within the "musical within a musical". Ji Jin-Hee handles the score quite well.

    I'll say no more about Perhaps, Love. You should check out the DVD which just came out from Hong Kong. Since I've seen the movie when it premiered in December 2005, in Hong Kong, I'll opt for Three Times (最好的時光), a proxy Proust novel set to the intricate rhythms and becalmed beauty of director Hou Hsiao-hsien's inimitable aesthetic. This Taiwanese film moves across the history of Taiwan—and the arc of the director's career—to explore the memory of love in the best and worst of times.

    2 Comments:

    Blogger Greg said...

    I'll have to check that one out; sounds interesting. I just saw a trailer for a Chinese film called The Promise which looks to be a visual stunner. Can't wait to see it!

    4/07/2006 1:06 PM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Oh I think you refer to "Wu Ji"....I heard mixed reviews about it. I plan to borrow my friend's dvd and watch it at home.

    4/12/2006 10:11 AM  

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