Daily Archives: December 6, 2018

Life and Death in China [THE DAY THE SUN TURNED COLD]

From the Chicago Reader (August 11, 1995). — J.R.

The Day the Sun Turned Cold

Rating *** A must see

Directed and written by Yim Ho

With Siqin Gowa, Tuo Zhong Hua, Ma Jing Wu, Wai Zhi, Shu Zhong, and Li Hu.

A striking moment in Mina Shum’s Double Happiness – a recent Canadian feature about an aspiring young actress in a North American city — reveals something about our attitudes toward Chinese culture. The Chinese-American heroine is auditioning for a small part as a waitress in a TV movie. After she runs through her lines, her prospective employers ask how good she is with accents. Pretty good, she replies; at this point we’ve already heard her southern drawl, and now she asks them in a French accent what kind of accent they want — French, perhaps, or something else? There’s a long, embarrassed silence, until she figures out that they want her to speak with a Chinese accent. She promptly does so, and with the same exaggeration she’d given her Southern Belle and Basic Frog. She immediately gets the part.

When Chinese movies audition for release in the North American market, I’m afraid the same sort of unspoken rules apply.… Read more »

Cornucoppola [BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA]

From the Chicago Reader (November 27, 1992). I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) argue that this treat is necessarily Coppola’s best movie, for reasons given below, but I wonder if it might actually be his most pleasurable, at least on a moment-by-moment (and shot-by-shot) basis. The Blu-Ray only adds to and enhances the richness.  — J.R.

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA

*** (A must-see)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Written by James V. Hart

With Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, and Bill Campbell.

Geographical spread accounts for some of the major differences between the film culture in this country and the various film cultures in Europe. While overseas the principal film-production centers and intellectual centers are usually located in the same cities — Paris, Rome, London, Madrid, Lisbon, Stockholm, Budapest, Prague — most of the United States stretches between our main film-production center, Hollywood and environs, and our main intellectual center, New York. The practical consequence is that our left hand hasn’t the faintest idea what our right hand is doing.

So much for the geographical split. What might be called the institutional gap is even worse. I’m referring to the profound lack of communication between the film industry (including most movie reviewers) and academic film studies (including intellectuals in adjacent or related fields).… Read more »