Press "Enter" to skip to content

Month: April 2005

One step further

I’m heartbroken. I wanted to watch Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow forever, dancing back and forth in slow motion, captured in the timeless rhythm of Wong Kar Wai’s directing. Despite the titles which fix the story in Hong Kong: 1962 and Singapore: 1963 and Cambodia: 1966 — despite them, there’s no chronology to it. There are panes of glass layered one on top of another, and you peer through them murkily, making out the outline of a fruitless love affair.

They are always meeting. They are always falling in love. They are always losing one another. The echoes are endless. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung are the iconic actors of the moment, and the Amah is played by Chin Tsi-ang, who was the first female martial arts film star in the 1930s. Mr. Ho — himself played by a matinee idol of the 50s — is having an affair, so as to echo the affair of the unseen spouses. There’s always a mirror, and when there isn’t a mirror, there’s a frame.

They interact through echoes. They cannot speak of love, so they echo the affair they’ve discovered their spouses are having. One almost thinks that the violation, when it occurs, is not that one of them speaks of love; it’s more that the mirror is broken. The dance could have continued forever if, always if.

I could write about it forever, too, but I’m heartbroken. In The Mood For Love, but it’s a very literal title: a mood is a long way away from fulfillment.


Eric Rudolph has made his statement. Read it carefully; understand what lies behind it. Look past the claim that he’s only upset about abortion. He asserts that he only kills government agents because they defend abortion; recognize that a few paragraphs later he’s talking about his plans to kill government agents investigating the bombing of a gay club. Take note of his hatred for the Olympics. Consider his xenophobia.

Most people who say things like “Practiced by consenting adults within the confines of their own private lives, homosexuality is not a threat to society” are not going to go out and bomb nightclubs. But that kind of language provides easy cover for the fanatics who do. Or, more commonly, for the fanatics who beat people up for wearing buttons with a pink triangle on them. Most people who say things like “The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior” aren’t going to go out and plot a murder. However, that kind of language provides cover — and encouragement — for people who do want judges dead.

Rudolph has a point; most countries, including own own, do arise from revolution of one form or another. Sometimes it’s necessary. The proof of the pudding is in the causes for which the revolutionary fights.

Whoa, linkage

Hallo, Eschaton readers! Thanks for dropping by, hope you find the carpets to your liking, and so on. I’m writing more about culture and film these days than I used to, because I’m fairly burned out on politics, but you’ll still find the occasional political post if you happen to stick around. Also: hope you like Asian cinema.

Hm. Back then, I was not so subtly making the point that Eric Rudolph was a terrorist and wondering why Fox News would forgive those who supported him. The point still holds. I’m pretty gratified to see CNN calling it like it is today:

Rudolph was a follower of the white supremacist Christian Identity movement, but investigators have never ascribed a motive for the attacks.

Deborah Rudolph, the suspect’s former sister-in-law, said she believes he was driven by an animus toward the government and minorities.

Fox News is at least running the accurate AP story. I’m pleased to see coverage of this on the front page of the major news web sites. Rudolph will be making a statement about his motivations at some point; I think that’s going to be the thing that really needs coverage, because it’s a window into the minds of our own domestic terrorists.

Solid single

Pros: Drew Barrymore, Red Sox, Nick Hornsby. Cons: Jimmy Fallon. So that was a pretty easy call. Alas, Fallon did not rise to the honorable occasion of working on a Red Sox movie. Thus, I got about what I expected out of Fever Pitch — a light, airy romantic comedy with some Red Sox bits that made me mist up.

It’s got most of the spirit of being a Boston fan about right. There’s a Boston Dirt Dogs T-shirt, they knew it was important to make a big deal about Ted Williams at the 1999 All Star Game, and so on. There’s a jarring scene where Fallon’s “summer family” of season ticket holders get all anxious about the Curse of the Bambino, though, which pissed me off something fierce. The Curse is a mythical publicity tool that mostly sells Dan Shaughnessy books. Perpetuating it at this stage of the game is hackneyed and lazy.

That didn’t stop me from getting all choked up at the important moments. We can pretend that I was more interested in how Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon were going to get back together than I was in reliving the 2004 ALCS, if we like. Certainly Barrymore was great — she’s had a really good string of romantic comedies going and she doesn’t misfire in this one. Fallon, not so much. There’s something oddly reptilian about him, which rested uneasily beneath the surface of the innocent character he’s playing. He seemed most at ease in the scene where he makes his friends dance for the privilege of attending Red Sox/Yankees games with him, which is also one of the least flattering scenes for his character.

Never mind. I liked it enough to be happy I’ve seen it, which I attribute about 40% to my fondness for the Red Sox, 30% to the Nick Hornsby source material, and 30% to Drew Barrymore. I got a kick out of seeing it about three blocks from Fenway Park itself. Some of the audience cheered “Let’s go, Red Sox” right along with the screen, and for once people talking in the middle of a movie was charming.


To my disappointment, the Boston Underground Film Festival’s copy of Able Edwards was flawed or scratched or something and they were only able to show the first fifteen minutes of the movie. It was a keen enough fifteen minutes, though.

I could have sworn I’d written about this movie before, but I can’t find the post in the archives. Able Edwards is a thinly veiled Walt Disney (Mickey Mouse becomes Perry Panda) who is cloned after an ecological disaster in order to revitalize Disney. Er, revitalize Edwards Corporation. According to other reviews, the cloned Edwards suffers an identity crisis of some sort. Regrettably, we didn’t get that far.

It’s another green screen movie, a la Sin City and Sky Captain. This is the seriously low budget version — it’s as if Kerry Conran hadn’t gotten funding for Sky Captain and had decided to go ahead anyhow. Most of the backgrounds are scanned photographs. By the time the DVD started skipping, I was sort of feeling as though the scanty live action sequences were stretched awfully thin over the technological scaffold, but the first fifteen minutes was also very expository in nature. I wouldn’t be surprised if the pace picked up later on.

Either way, Graham Robertson (the director, screenwriter, and one-man army) has done something pretty impressive. (Particularly at a cost of only $30,000.) There’s a great quote on the film’s website: “Francis Ford Coppola once said there would come a day when some little fat girl from Ohio could borrow her dad’s camcorder and become the next Mozart of moviemaking. We would like to think that Able Edwards is that little fat girl.” Maybe not Mozart; definitely a good start.

The BUFF folks were, by the by, very polite and apologetic about the problem. So no ill-feeling there, poor guys. Hopefully it’ll play at FanTasia this summer and I’ll get another chance to see it.

Time trials

I converted this blog over to WordPress 1.5, out of curiosity. For some reason, the front page takes about ten times longer to load in WordPress. I probably won’t be switching any time soon.

This is not that

The great thing about weblogs is that sometimes people will write down the things you were thinking about in such a clear and cogent fashion that any need for you to write about them is utterly eliminated. Thus, I give you Maciej’s essay “Dabblers and Blowhards.” In theory, there’s an entire class of annoying bloggers I’ll never have to write about again.

In practice, I’ll get frustrated every four months or so and post something irritated and someone will say “Dude, what did you expect?” But it’s nice to have dreams.