Asian Cinema, GC and Digitiser
Earlier this month GC published a rather awesome letter of mine (if I may say so myself…) I came across it again lurking about on my laptop, & since this site is still pretty dry, I thought to repost the words in full. A must read for anyone disillusioned by Hollywood…
“I know I said my next letter won’t be just on Hollow Shotguns (buy it and support independent literature!) but about videogames, yet after the letters regarding the current quality of cinema, I must dispense some advice to those jaded with Hollywood… Taste Asian cinema! South Korea for instance produces immensely bold works, exemplified by Park Chan-Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy, of which Oldboy is easily the strongest (and worryingly receiving a Hollywood ‘reimagining’). Its siblings, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Lady Vengeance are also superb. And it’s only a thematic trilogy, so they’re great standalone movies also… Kim Ji-woon’s I Saw the Devil is as stunning as it is violent. And Memories of Murder, a Zodiac-esque thriller (made before Zodiac), and The Host are likewise quality.
Hong Konger Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle is deft cinematic liberation, exuding physical comedy, verbal wit, surrealism (an impromptu Bollywood-esque dance in the opening minutes) and sharp homages, all laced with eyeball-pulsing fisticuffs. His Shaolin Soccer, whilst narratively weaker, is perhaps even funnier (certainly sillier). I actually adore Hustle and Shaolin so much, I devoted a whole conversation to them in Hollow Shotguns, where The Set cite almost every offbeat moment. I was also recently impressed by Donnie Yen’s Wu Xia, the smartest, sharpest martial arts flick I’ve eyed for some time.
Indonesian The Raid leaves Hollywood actioners blushing. And Japan’s Battle Royale remains extremely awesome…
The above is by no means exhaustive and many are pretty recognized, but they’re great introductions for those never venturing out the comfort of Hollywood studio celluloid. All should be viewed in their original tongue with English subs for that purity. Contrasting much of Hollywood, they’re not fixated with the ‘mainstream’, challenging us rather than idly appeasing.
PS- I totally PROMISE my next letter will be about the current music scene. Sorry, videogames!”
……GC, for the unenlightened, is the finest videogame publication this side of the universe. Anyone diggin’ videogames &/or intelligent discussion upon such critical matters as xenophobia in games, the desensitisation of violence, the morality of killing in gaming and the sweet scents of videogame manuals (fragrances personally reminiscent of fresh comic-books) should positively scope it out. GC previously dwelt within the ‘teletext’ service which British television sets used to receive. Its ancestor was Digitiser. Governed by a ‘Mr Biffo’ (aka Paul Rose), Digitiser oozed subversive surrealism, biting wit & offbeat humour, much of which immensely impacted the sense of humour nodes of my highly impressionable 10-year-old self. Although GC is much dryer, it continues Digi’s tradition of unbiased, truthful journalism.
Next month I’ll post some words about Hollow Shotguns I’m currently scribbling out. I’ll either be discussing the unconventional (& somewhat divisive) language of the boys, or the imperative chapter ‘The War’… OR I may just talk about Batman… BATMAN!!