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Mpls, MN, United States

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Shi mian mai fu

I just watched House of Flying Daggers for the first time, and liked it so much that since I have the DVD from the library until Monday, I will probably have to watch it at least once more. The plot and character development were satisfactory, but I have to confess that the main reason I enjoyed it was purely its aesthetic value. Few films can match this one for beauty of costumes, scenery, and actors.

I guess I'm a sucker for pretty colors and people; a glance through the movies listed on my profile reveals as much--Amelie, Moulin Rouge, Eternal Sunshine, and the Life Aquatic, to name just a few.

There are clearly many things for which a book is better than a movie; often it can communicate concepts more clearly (or more subtly), allow the reader to use his or her own imagination and experiences to flesh out the story, and of course showcase the glory of words and language. But there's certainly something to be said for undiluted visual pleasure--of which this movie is a great example.

8 comments:

Hathor said...

House of Flying Daggers is a very good movie--that whole end sequence was beautiful (white snow, blood).

Amelie is also awesome. Have you seen Memoirs of a Geisha? I have only heard reviews from people who have not read the book, not really a good indicator. The film critics pretty much hated it, but the opinion of the goddess is much more highly weighted than mere movie critics.

bryant said...

If you like House of Flying Daggers you will definately like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I think it is better. I've been waiting for the sequel but I guess I'll have to give up on that.


I saw Memoirs of a Geisha and haven't read the book so you can pigeon hole me with that group. I thought that movie was over all pretty good and I would watch it again, but there was something lacking and the ending wasn't very satisfying.

Cerise said...

I have seen neither Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon nor Memoirs of a Geisha. I just watched the trailer for the latter and wasn't too impressed. If you see it first, Heather, let me know how it is--and I'll do likewise.

Ellen said...

skip the book and the movie of memoirs of a geisha...

Cerise said...

I thought the book was pretty good...

strovska said...

if you liked house of flying daggers, try to find Hero--i think it's the same director, and it's extremely esthetic. i thought it was at least as impressive as house of flying daggers, if not more.

also, if you're in the mood for a movie that's very slow plot-wise but very pretty eye-wise, you might try a vietnamese movie called The Vertical Ray of the Sun (consider yourself warned about the plot slowness, though). or The Scent of Green Papaya, also vietnamese, and also very slow plot-wise (by the same director, i think).

oh, or a couple of iranian movies--Gabbeh and The Silence. slow-moving but extremely pretty.

and one more oh-it's-pretty-too--In the Mood for Love, which you may have seen already, because i think Bryant mentioned 2046, which was by the same director (wong kar wai).

i'll stop now.

bryant said...

I've been talking about the Scent of the Green Papaya for, seems like years now. We haven't been able to find it in the video store when we go. I'm thinking I'll have to purchase it.

Also, I went back and watched the extras for 2046 and it makes more sense to me now.

Cerise said...

Slow for the sake of pretty is not a problem for me. Bryant, let's add those films to The List! Thanks for the recommendations, strovska!