Archive for August 14th, 2009


Photo Submitted By DerekR

by Sam Juliano

     An early Sunday morning family trip to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, which will spill over till mid-day on Monday, has convinced me to hold the planned Monday Morning Diary that would normally be posted Aug. 17 till the following day, August 18.  Nothing like this will happen again I am certain, but it appears that for this one week it is advisable to maximize my own involvement.  There is a very good chance the thread won’t do very well as a result of the change, but I am confident that at least a few of the regulars will chime in.  I am planning to see both Ponyo and It Might Get Loud tonight at the Landmark, and tomorrow evening I will attend the Brit Noir Festival again, seeing too films I have seen multiple times before, Dassin’s Night and the City and Hamer’s It Always Rains on Sunday.  On Thursday of next week, The October Man and The Green Cockatoo are being offered, and I do plan to be there.  Wednesday is tempting: So Long at the Fair and The Clouded Yellow.  John Grecco lives in Florida now, but his spirit hangs over every trip to the Film Forum, and every film that is seen at this festival.

     Today, a  new comment record has been established at Wonders in the Dark, with Allan’s review of Akira the catalyst for an enthralling often contentious discussion, replete with Allan’s uproarious caustic humor on display.  (277 comments at present and running.) Two of the commenters: Bob Clark of The Aspect Ratio and our very good friend and affiliate Movie Man (Joel Bocko) were the most prolific contributors, but many others offered sterling insights into the film, and later to American cinema, the best American directors, and a heated discussion centering around George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson.  Allan made particularly great use of Blackadder, and Bob Clark was amazingly thick-skinned.  Thanks for the tireless effort on these pages one and all.

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yellow earth 1

by Allan Fish

(China 1984 89m) not on DVD

Aka. Huang tudi

The ice on the Yellow River doesn’t melt in June

p  Guo Keqi  d  Chen Kaige  w  Zhang Ziliang  novel  “Echo in the Deep Valley” by Ke Lan  ph  Zhang Yimou  ed  Wan Liu, Pei Xiaonan  m  Zhao Jiping  art  He Qun

Xue Bai (Cuiqiao), Wang Xueqi (Gu Qing), Tan Tuo (father), Liu Qiang (Hanhan),

The film that really brought Chinese cinema, and its Fifth Generation of filmmakers, into western consciousness, and one of the greatest debut films of its decade, Yellow Earth is a film quite unlike any other you’ll have seen.  It’s almost unrecognisable from the later pieces that Kaige turned to in his later years and, though the previously discussed Farewell, My Concubine is undoubtedly an exceptional film, few true denizens of Chinese cinema would not nominate his debut film as his best. 

            The film’s opening caption sets the scene; “in September 1937, the need for unified resistance against the Japanese by the Communists and the Kuomintang forced Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang government to recognise the communist Shaanxi-Gansun-Ningxia border region.  However, the people of the northern Shaanxi province still suffered heavily at the hands of the Kuomintang local government.  Artists of the communist 8th Route Army come to collect folk songs…”  We’re now in spring 1939, and one such soldier, Gu Qing, arrives in a small community to stay with an old farmer – who still prays to the deaf gods to ensure a good harvest – and his two children, and finds that his 14 year old daughter, Cuiqiao, about to be sold off into marriage, is an excellent singer. (more…)

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