Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Whale Rider (Caro, 2002): Mini-Film Review

Whale Rider (Caro, 2002), based on the novel by Witi Ihimaera, is an accessible coming of age film that I have watched a number of times with my children -- it presents the life of a girl named Paikea (excellently portrayed by Keisha Castle-Hughes) who belongs to the Whangara community in northeast New Zealand. Paikea's family believes that the next chief must be a boy, but Paikea challenges this stereotype by demonstrating all of the correct attributes of a chief -- the tension of the film is generated by the fact that it takes so long for others to accept this reality. The film asks questions of identity such as: "Where are we from?" & "What's wrong with me?" And in the end it is the narrative development itself that really captivates, despite some interesting stylistic moves with both sound and underwater photography.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

In the Mood for Love (Wong, 2000): Mini-Film Review

It's difficult to say anything that has not already been said about Wong Kar-Wai's 2000 film In the Mood for Love. It is also difficult not to say anything about this film that remains at the forefront of my idea--and many of our ideas--of film. What a perfect representation of the manipulation of: temporal reality by witnessing time in the form of memory (sequentially rather than chronologically), the duration of story as the film jumps around in time and place (noting the concluding sequence in Cambodia rather than in Hong Kong), and the film challenges linear notions of time by representing the same event repeatedly, or at least allowing us to question the recurrence of events.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Lingzhen Wang Quotation from "Chinese Women's Cinema"

I find inspiration from Lingzhen Wang's writing on feminist transnational theory in Chinese Women's Cinema: Transnational Contexts, including the following observation:

"In film studies, the concept of transnational cinema has emerged in response to increasing economic and media globalization and the acceleration of technological development. As a relatively new conceptual category, transnational cinema is mobilized to address the significance of transnational financing, production, distribution, and reception of films, to express the need to go beyond the limitations of national cinema, to draw attention to films made by film-makers living in cosmopolitan centers or in the diaspora, and to denote a transnational and hybrid cinematic aesthetics and emotional identification. Some scholars of transnational media have projected an apolitical and utopian vision of transnationalism by arguing that it unfolds as an essentially self-motivated, and apparently amoral, cultural force and that the real world is no longer defined by its colonial past (or its neocolonial present), but by its technological future, in which people will gain greater access to the means of global representation. Transnational feminism, on the other hand, argues the opposite by directing our attention to dis-proportioned movements across borders, and by exposing the underbelly of the "the global village": racism, illegal border crossing, forced economic migration, political exile, and xenophobia."