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Category: The Arts

寫作這不幸

如果說寫作只是為了填補心靈的空白,那在我身上也真是說得通的。每當我沉浸在幸褔充實的生活時,我往住都失去所有寫作的意欲。最近高價入手了整套文庫本小甜甜打算收藏用的,忍不住拿了一本來看,就再也放不下來了。重拾久遠的幸褔時光的代價也就是我好幾天也沒有寫到一個字。我這種依靠情緒來寫作的作法,除非一生抱憾不幸,否則大概一生都寫不完一件作品來吧。

惠比壽映像祭隨想

這樣說也許對我們的藝術家們有點不敬,但其實我很多時候在看展覧的時候思緒都會飄離展場,漫無邊際。尤其是看沒特別內容的影像裝置,我如果不是睡着了,大抵都在想別的事情。這天我站在惠比壽映像祭的一個影像裝置前,不覺又陷入了空想。那是一個日本藝術家的作品,題材環繞日本東北部依然進行中的狩獵行為。四面的投影交錯播放着雪地上雀鳥爭相吃剛被獵殺的小鹿留下來的內臟的片段。攝影機就放在雪地上同一個視點,無造作的進行實時紀錄。那無造作在我來看卻是那麼的造作,登時令我進入了思考。當然那也不是第一次想到的事情,但那個時候的我大概被甚麼深深的打動了,又或者只不過是太過空閒無聊,忽然的便又考究所謂的藝術究竟是甚麼一回事。例如說這影像--本來這片子,在一般的情況下播放--亦即不是以一個藝術裝置的形式,而只是在普通的播映場地播放,如電影院、大學的放映室又或者家裡的電視機。假若如此的話,那這片子也不過是一部拍得很一般的一般紀錄片。只是換了一個表達形式,同一樣的題材和材料,便由一般的東西變成了藝術。但是轉念一想,文學又何嘗不是如此。同一樣的題材,基於作者的手法和品味的高低,可以變成一般的通俗文學,也可以變成純文學。古今藝術也一樣--不過就是品味的問題。這麼想着想着,我也就沒那麼憤世嫉俗,漸漸釋懷起來了。

Biutiful

Another film about a man and which I had little idea what it was about before I watched it. Since “Birdman” got Best Picture at the Oscars I finally can make up my mind to pick out this film from my very long pending list and have it done with. I liked “Babel” a lot so I kind of knew what to expect and that I would like it too. And I do like it. The story of a man who has been informed that he has got cancer and has only very little time left to live, and which reminds me of François Ozon’s “Time to Leave.” But “Biutiful” is less stoic and in a way I like this better. The man set out to fix the many broken things in his life – his loose family ties, his broken marriage with a prostitute with bipolar disorder, his young children without a mother to take care of them, his many illicit business and the complicated relationships with the people he dealt with. When he was helping his daughter with her homework she asked him how to spell “beautiful” – and that is where “Biutiful” comes from. Something is crooked, wrong, but still beautiful. Life is beautiful, with all its many complications and bitterness. The Chinese say “When a person is about to die he speaks goodness.” So one tries to fix everything, right every wrong, before one dies, albeit it is not always possible. Things might even get worse, as in the film. Here one sees again this solitary man fighting against the inevitable. Sad but so very biutiful.

A Serious Man

I did not know it is the story of a Jewish man, but Jewish or not, I really like the dark humour and the director brother-duo’s treatment is, as always, just right. Not too melodramatic to lose touch of the real, and at the same time not too plain as to be droll. Life is ridiculous, goodness is not always rewarded, we seek an answer from God and God does not heed. Just when you think every cloud has a silver lining, the sky changes, there comes a tornado along with the brusque ending. “As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods. They kill us for their sport.” Jewish or Christian or Pagan. Sometimes we have to help ourselves, so even if God does not help those who help themselves we still have ourselves. Life is ridiculous, so don’t you take it too seriously.

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

The usual virtuous wife story but very beautifully made. Instead of the romance I am more drawn to the theme of the country vs city, traditions vs modernity, virtues vs desires. While the city is being portrayed as a very magical place where people have so much fun they forget about time and place, it is also where the evil lurks – the smart city girl who tempts the young farmer and persuades him to kill his simple rustic wife. It is quite hard to believe that the city girl can fall in love with a farmer – but perhaps it is not an issue here. She is the embodiment of all the evils of modern city life and should be shunned. Though I do feel sorry for her when the film ends with her sitting mournfully in a wagon heading back to the city. She has fallen in love with the wrong person, that’s all.

等一個人咖啡

我還記得為了《那些年,我們一起追的女孩》而跟你起了爭執。我說那實在很一般,雷聲大雨點小,讓喜歡九把刀的平常不易動怒的你生氣了。但無論你如何生氣也好,說我常自命高人一等大言不慚,我也不會因而喜歡上我覺得不夠好的東西,也不會因為怕讓人不快而不表達心中想法。那也已說明了我們之間的差距,只是我們總是置若罔聞,過了便算。九把刀是有的小聰明,但他的東西千篇一律,品味永遠停留在同一個階層,《等一個人咖啡》也是一樣。看了一遍後我只有再一次確認了我的想法,九把刀不是不好,但對我來說真的很一般。或者正是因為如此我們不得不分開,各自再去等我們的那一個人吧。

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Sorry I am late Mr. Lawrence. And sorry too that I have always thought that David Bowie was Mr. Lawrence. Sorry three that I could not at all recognise Ryuichi Sakamoto…… all the while I was thinking who that guy with those funny brows is…… And I had imagined a very different story (with more explicit content perhaps – obviously I was thinking of Gohatto). The pace of the film is very 80s – actors overlap their lines and actions and the breathings felt unnatural (to me in the 21st century). But really good to finally meet you, albeit many years late, Mr. Lawrence.

Contagion

I like the opening Hong Kong sequence – they made good choices and those scenes of the Mongkok look really good, as well the decision to use Chui Tien You and Josie Ho. Except the terrible idea of the Chinese village where the epidemic killed half of its inhabitants – come on Hong Kong is a city… we have villages in the New Territories but not like that in the film, unless they meant it to be mainland China. Then there are many big names in this film but somehow the story does not work out too well – not thought through well enough? One sees big themes hovering through the air but they just do not seep through. Blindness, on the other hand, also about a fictional – probably even more fantastical – epidemic, was really shocking. The credit goes to the original story’s Nobel Laureate author. One really needs a good script in order to make a good film, not big names nor visual effects.

Thérèse

The real Amelie. I don’t know why they give Thérèse such a low rating but I really enjoyed it. The same old story of a upperclass lady with an independent spirit trying to fight through the cage of a conservative French countryside. Calm and slow, no apparent outrageous passion, every latent, hidden under a serene surface. That calmness is the real cage, the real source of suffocation, the real source of death. One might ask, why can’t she just escape from it all? Just walk out of that door, and never turn back. I think of that often. Perhaps that inability to walk out of one’s cage is the real chain that inhabits us from attaining our freedom.

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

It does not smell American – that was my first impression of The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet. By the time I realised that it actually smelled like my favourite Amelie, it also appeared to me that this film was by none other than that same eccentric French director. But I was disappointed – it is meant to be a cute story with a little bit of dark side to it, but the drawback is, unfortunately, the little T.S. Spivet. It is the wrong boy. It feels like Amelie is being played by Sophie Marceau. Well, something like that.