Monday, June 12, 2006

Recently viewed movies

Manchurian Candidate, new version.

For a while now, well, let me be honest, ever since GW Bush pulled off two bloodless coups, I've felt as though we were all living in a Hollywood blockbuster, but I keep waiting for the resolution in which the hero saves the day. Perhaps that hero was frightened off by anthrax. I've realized this movie is the one we're living in. Machinating Mama Senator is instead Papa CIA/former president. And in this life the twisted evil corporate cabal is winning. It's a good movie, and has inspired me to see the original with Frank Sinatra.

Take Care of My Cat

A girls coming of age Korea. I like foreign films because they usually don't fit the Hollywood cookie-cutter mold. They also give me glimpses into another culture. I haven't traveled, but at least I can through arts and literature. Finally, I figure the ones that make it here are the cream of the crop. It was interesting to note that in some ways urban Korean teenagers may share more in common with American teenagers than I do with American teenagers....such as growing up with cell phones as a way of life. A first movie by a female Korean director, I find a sweet, solid dignity in the characters and the story.


I don't know anything about Derrida, but as I come from a Liberal Arts college, occasionally the alumni email list talks about philosophers. Derrida coined the term deconstruction, a complex concept that near as I can figure Lao Tzu had figured out centuries ago: The way that can be named is not the true way. Of course everything comes back to Buddhist thought to me. (While not Buddhist, Lao Tzu had an influence on Zen.) While perhaps the documentarians felt they could not show us the true Derrida without showing him getting in a car, going for a walk, getting a haircut...I didn't think it helped me understand him or deconstructionism any better or any sooner. Derrida was reluctant to let go of his writings to an archival library, over one hundred boxes. What is it about Western philosophy and it's attachment to ever more precise details of ideas?

The Grass Harp

A sweet narrative of a boy growing up with his two aunts. While watching I thought the style of this narrative sure seems familiar. Sure enough, the novel was written by Truman Capote, who also wrote A Christmas Memory. (Who knew I could recognize the style of an author?) I saw that as a one-man play last year. Capote does have a way with Norman Rockwell-esque vignettes.

The Closet

Gerard Depardieu was smart and went back to France. In this French movie, a man who knows he's going to be fired from a condom factory comes out of the (non-existent) closet with the help of his new friend and neighbor. Depardieu plays the homophobic comic relief. Just as his new friend predicted, the formerly bland man keeps his job as a gay man, and now intrigues everyone. A predictable but funny movie.

Saving Face

A young Chinese-American doctor deals with her Chinese community's matchmaking on the one hand, and her semi-closeted lesbian romance on the other in Flushing, NY. Some English, some Chinese, no white people unless there were some unnoticed extras. Neat movie.

The Republic of Love

A romantic comedy from Canada with Bollywood elements, directed by an Indian-Canadian woman. There's something charming about that larger-than-life moment of destiny found in a Bollywood movie. I've only seen a few of the crossover movies, such as Monsoon Wedding. The music helps you realize, "Oh, this is a Bollywood moment." There's always mythic elements in a Bollywood movie. (Am I right?) She identifies with mermaids, he had 27 homemaker mothers, June Cleavers all.

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