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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Greencine Five, Part I: Curse of the Golden Flower, Phantom India, Twin Peaks, I'm Not Afraid, They Came Back

I have a home office, but I don't have cable. The experiment is working out quite well. To keep the TV in use, I upped my Greencine subscription from 3 DVDs at a time to 5. The first batch of DVDs arrived by Friday, and today the last of them are watched. Below are reviews, from the most recently watched to the first viewed.

To Kill a King, Queen, or Prince

A Hamletian epic of faithlessness and betrayal, Curse of the Golden Flower centers around the Chrysanthemum Festival of the late Tang Dynasty. The style shifts through the movie from the lush beauty of House of Flying Daggers to the dead beauty of the Godfather Saga. Some of costumes and choreography are reminiscent of 300. Sadly, Zhang Ziyi does not make an appearence, though Man Li is not a poor substitute.

Orientalism in its truest form

1969's Phantom India (Disk 1), by Marxist / Cultural Relativist / French documentarian Louise Mille, is perhaps the least explanatory film possible about that country at that time. Yet its hypnotic qualities cannot be denied. From the theosophist dance academy to the Right Communists, the two themes are that a western mind absolutely cannot understand the east and that a Maoist revolution would be for the best. The best line (paraphrased): "After becoming nearly extinct decades ago, the tradition has regained popularity. Thus it is dead. What was once living now is folklore."

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