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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 30, 2006


    Three Times

    My friend Ron and I went to see the screening of Three Times, a Taiwanese movie directed by Hou Hsiao Hsien featured in the San Francisco International Film Festival. The title in English reflects on three unrelated stories that took place in 1911, 1966, and 2005, respectively. The film is titled The Best of Time in Chinese - the time for love, the time for freedom, and the time for youth. Shu Qi and Chang Chen each stars in three roles in the three cuts. The movie marked Hou's sixth bid for the Cannes Film Festival in 2005. Hou drew from his memories of the past in making the film: the best moments are memories that are forever lost, some irretrievable memories whose vestige one can only cherish.

    In the first segment, the pool hall turns up in 1966 Kaohsiung, the setting represents an episode from Hou's own adolescence: Chang Chen is a youth on his military service, chasing Shu Qi from one pool hall to the next. The opening of the middle segment occurred in late-Qing Dynasty, in 1911 (the year of China's first revolution) Shu Qi plays a tea-house courtesan (like a geisha) worrying about her prospects of marriage and Chang Chen is her regular customer, an activist who visits Taiwan between fund-raising trips to Japan and dangerous forays into China and scarcely notices her needs. The last segment travels back to the modern day Taipei in 2005. Shu Qi is a bisexual rock a singer who is afflicted by epileptic fits; she is torn between the love of Chang Chen, who is a photographer and her girlfriend.

    What strikes me the most is that the lovers in the modern segment are completely lost in touch with their feelings: a complete disorder or conflicting emotions. It portrays the vulnerability of human isolation in an age of cell-phones, internet, and text messages. They're endowed with all the communication gadgets and yet they are not connected on a level as the deep as the long-lost lovers did in the 1960s, with letter correspondence. The scripts of the movie are very rare, and the middle segment was filmed in one setting, without any dialogue. It could be pondering at points.

    Love changes, Hou suggests, and love stays the same.


    Blogger matty said...

    Wow -- I need to see this!!!!

    4/30/2006 3:30 PM  

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