Tuesday, February 28, 2012

BLACK WOMEN IN INDEPENDENT FILM IN 2011 (Dark Girls, Pariah & The Black Power Mixtape)

'Pariah' (2011)
I don't wanna get carried away and make a crazy statement like: "There was an EXPLOSION of black cinema in 2011" (something I'm sure a lot of people would be quick to say) but at the same time, there was enough to make a small dent, which is better than nothing (Pariah, Black Power Mixtape & Dark Girls). Most of these films were centered around a demographic that often gets overlooked and is constantly misunderstood & misrepresented on the big screen: Black Women. I imagine some of you may be thinking; "But Marcus, what about The Help?." In my opinion, even though I love Viola Davis, the whole vibe of The Help comes off like another Drivin' Miss Daisy to me (just my opinion). It's a confusing mixture of humor, drama & oversimplified racism. From the poster, to the trailer, which came off somewhat "upbeat", it gives off this vibe as if to say: "Oh Boy that segregation sure was a doozy! Ah boy, being black in the 1950's sure was wacky, wasn't it?" I'm honestly amazed (and VERY confused) at the amount of positive reviews and acclaim The Help has been getting. But at the same time I get it. It makes (some) white people feel good about themselves and (most) black people will blindly support anything "black" without putting too much thought in to it (there, I said it). As I watched Octavia Spencer win an academy award the other night it almost made me cringe as everyone in attendance gave her a standing ovation.
Precious was another recently praised film that also confused me. It brought up all these emotions and feelings that honestly make me feel like I'm alone in this world sometimes. Upon receiving an article from my father about how Hollywood likes dysfunctional black characters (which is kind of true), stemming from Mo'nique's academy award win for best supporting actress in 2010, I had this to say (you may wanna read this article below before going any further):

"Hollywood Likes Dysfunctional Black Characters"

And now read how my simple email response to my father slowly turned in to an essay/rant hybrid...

the person who wrote this article doesn't completely know what they're talking about.

for example:

"Okay, so we all know that Mo'Nique deserved the best supporting actress Oscar she won this past Sunday. Her performance in "Precious" was brilliant, and there’s no way I’m going to diss my homegirl"

NO! her performance wasn't "brilliant". shes not even a good actor. its just a novelty. a comedic personality plays a serious role for the first time, and people automatically jump all over it. Actually, id like someone to point out the difference between Mo'nique's character in precious and the actress who played Ice Cube's mother in Boyz N' The Hood. Where's her academy award?? Plus, the span between those two characters is almost 20 years. that's proof right there that black film isn't really moving forward. in fact its come full circle. 20 years later, and the same angry, single, bad black mother character is still being portrayed (and praised).

another example that the person writing this article doesn't know what they're talking about:

"Of the six black Oscar winners since 2002, only Morgan Freeman and Jamie Foxx played African-Americans who were even close to normal."

no way. he's talking about morgan freeman's oscar win for "million dollar baby". its like black people don't even realize that in a pivotal scene in million dollar baby, morgan freeman's character beat up a black person to defend a white person...the same white person who called him a "nigger" at the beginning of the movie. But he's morgan freeman, so no one (especially black people) can criticize him, because hes the wise sounding, smooth talking, old black guy. but i see through that. I'm not fooled. how many role's has morgan freeman played the helpful black sidekick to the white lead? or how many times has he played the wise, mysterious black person who always helps the lead white character (sometimes sacrificing his own life)? plenty.
Black people aren't critical enough if you ask me. we accept things way too easily. its like black people are saying; "did a black person just win some shiny trophy?? well, I'm gonna automatically support that person and the movie, and not even take the time to break down what the movie is about, or break down the performance of the character." and the few times a black person does criticize negative black roles, the black community pulls that "why do black people always have to tear down other black people?" crap. i don't wanna hear that shit. and white people don't want to say anything about negative black roles, because their scared someone is gonna pull the race card.
to say Hollywood likes dysfunctional black characters is kinda vague, because how many white actors have been nominated or won oscars and other various awards for playing dysfunctional characters? plenty. There's bigger issues concerning black people in film today


Now here we are two years later and not much has changed. A lot of the things I said in that email response above still apply today. I'm sorry (actually I'm not sorry) but characters like Tyler Perry's "Madea" (which looks like it wont be going away any time soon) and Mo'Nique's performance in 'Precious' have a negative effect on the image of black women. And I'm not denying that Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis didn't give great performances in The Help, but at the same time, I'm done with movies like that. Is it possible to make a film showing black women not just in a positive light (because that's a little vague vague), but show how beautiful, attractive, complex and talented they are? Thanks to recent films like Pariah, Dark Girls (which has yet to be released) and The Black Power Mixtape (which is starting to develop quite a lil' cult following), things are lookin' up!

At the very end of Pariah, a coming of age tale about a New York teen coming to grips with being a lesbian, I couldn't help but worry that newcomer; Adepero Oduye (who gave an AMAZING performance in her first starring role) might turn in to another Shareeka Epps - another young black actress who gave an equally commanding & original performance in Half Nelson, but has yet to be seen in much since (which was over 5 years ago). Sure, there may be factors as to why we haven't seen her in many other films (maybe she just didn't want to act that much or maybe she wanted to focus on school give her age). But I tend to lean towards whats probably the real reason - the American movie industry is pretty messed. Generally speaking, American filmmakers don't seem to know how to portray black female characters that don't look a certain way. I mean really, stop and ask yourself why Nona Gaye (Ali), Naomie Harris (Miami Vice), China Shavers (Beginners) and even Nia Long (who's clearly found the fountain of youth) don't turn up in more films in starring roles.Look at European actresses who have made the transition in to mainstream/American studio films like Juliette Binoche, Marian Cotillard and Audrey Tatou. How come beautiful black actresses based out of France like Aissa Maiga (Bamako, Russian Dolls) or Mati Diop (35 Shots Of Rum) haven't made the same transisiton? Surely acting ability or beauty isn't the question. I know Kerry Washington has been holding it down, but she cant do it all by herself. What makes Kirsten Dunst, Natalie Portman, Cameron Diaz or Emma Stone more attractive or more appealing than the aforementioned black actresses? I mean, I know we all know the real reason, but I'm just sayin'...
At the moment things are looking up for Adepero Oduye. At the golden globes Meryl Streep gave her a shout out in her acceptance speech and then overnight she got signed to a talent agency. Lets see how the film industry can use her.
In Pariah we follow "Alike"; a Brooklyn teen who isn't exactly in the closet, but isn't exactly openly gay either. She almost leads a double life. When she's home or around her parents (a religious mother who senses that Alike is gay, and tries to "fix" her; and a father, also in denial about his daughter's sexual orientation, although slightly more caring) she tries to dress and act more feminine. When she's not at home or around her parents she dresses more "boyish", hangs out with one of her only (also gay) friends and frequents a popular gay club. As the film progresses things kinda start to spiral out of control for Alike and she learns things about herself and the people around her which forces her to grow up and mature faster than others her age. Pariah walks the same path as films like Mouchette, Match Factory Girl & Welcome To The Dollhouse (Adepero Oduye's performance was also reminiscent of Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple).

Its obvious that the Swedish documentary The Black Power Mixtape wasn't JUST about Angela Davis, but at the same time she was (literally) the poster child for the film. Next to the section that focused on Stokely Carmichael, the parts on Angela Davis are probably the most memorable. I've always been intrigued by Davis and this documentary just heightened that intrigue. From her signature afro right down to the way she carries herself in interviews, she's one of a kind. It makes me wonder why more films don't focus on her. Its a sad state of affairs when there's more of a demand for a Sarah Palin biopic then there is for one on Angela Davis (or even someone like Assata Shakur for that matter). The Black Power Mixtape is a documentary made out of hours of edited footage taken by Swedish filmmakers in the 1960's & 1970's who went to Oakland and Harlem to document the Black Power movement for the Swedish news. The doc features great archival footage of speeches and interviews from many prominent black civil rights figures and revolutionaries (Davis, Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Eldridge Cleaver, etc) with up to date interviews and voice-over commentary from artists like Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli & Questlove. This documentary has structure but its also chaotic and unstructured at the same time (if that makes any sense) which is what I love about it so much.
I think the most unique thing about the making of this film is that even though its captured through the eyes of white Europeans, it still doesn't objectify or misrepresent black people in any way. But at the same time I shouldn't be all that surprised given that so many modern European directors like; Michael Haneke (Code Unknown & Cache), Nicolas Provost (The Invader) and Claire Denis (No Fear, No Die & 35 Shots Of Rum) seem to be the main directors making most of the progressive films concerning black people and race issues today.

Bill Duke is similar to Tom Noonan. As an actor he's mostly known for stuff like Predator & Commando (similar to how as an actor Noonan is mostly know for Monster Squad & The Last Action Hero) but as a director Duke focuses on more personal stories (like Tom Noonan's directorial debut; What Happened Was..., which might be one of the most personal & real stories to ever be put on the big screen in the last 25 years). Duke's latest documentary; Dark Girls addresses real issues concerning black women and could have easily been twice as long. When I caught this at Toronto it was nice to see a packed theater. When you're like me and go to the regular movie theaters I go too (Anthology Film Archives, IFC center, Film Forum, etc), you're use to being one of the only black people there (even at screenings of films that speak directly to black people).
Dark Girls is a complex film about the racism, struggles & pressure black women face all over the world. Duke focuses on internal racism inside of the black community (black men not being attracted to black women because their too dark, black women being encouraged by their family to be with someone lighter or white so they don't have dark kids, etc), and he interviews everyone from actresses like Viola Davis to "every day" women. Certain aspects of the documentary were summarized and wrapped up a little too nicely for my taste, but at the end of the day this documentary dealt with issues that other films haven't so its a success in my book.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I've squeezed all i can outta Andrei Tarkovsky (if you haven't gotten familiar with my ongoing "School Of..." series maybe its time to do that before going any further; The School Of Tarkovsky Part 1, 2, 3 & The School Of Todd Solondz: Movie Poster Designs). Now its time to move on to another influential director: 
Jean Luc Godard.
Some people watch 'Pulp Fiction' once, buy a few criterion DVDs and blindly throw around a phrase like; Jean Luc Godard is one of the most influential filmmakers to ever live, but have no idea what they're really talking about. I mean, that statement IS true but how may of you guys out there can spot all the various references and stolen shots that have popped up in cinema over the last 50 years?
In the images below you'll see Godard's influences on his contemporaries like; Milos Forman and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, as well as directors from the next generation like Xavier Dolan (who's sophomore effort, 'Heartbeats', is a straight Godard homage) and Hal Hartley (who was nicknamed: "The Jean Luc Godard of Long Island" at one point) and even music videos. I'm no Godard expert, but I still know enough to make an interesting new series like this. I kept it simple with the first installment and focused on the more recognizable Godard films like; 'Alphaville', 'Band Of Outsider', 'A Woman Is A Woman' and a few more.


'Vivre Sa Vie' (1962) - Godard
'Loves Of A Blonde' (1963) - Milos Forman

'Alphaville' (1965) - Godard
"Turn Me On" (2011) - The Grates

'Love Is Colder Than Death' (1969) - Rainer Werner Fassbinder

'A Woman Is A Woman' (1961)

'Maps' - Yeah Yeah Yeah's (2003)

A Woman Is A Woman


A Woman Is A Woman



"Linger" - The Cranberries (1993)



'Michel Subor  in 'Beau Travail' (1999)
-Claire Denis

Michel Subor  in 'La Petit Soldat' 
(1963) - Godard

'Beau Travail'

'Le Petit Soldat'

Anna Karina's classic "look" (specifically the hair) found in all of Godard's films which has become a popular look amongst many female characters in film today... 
Uma Thurman in 'Pulp Fiction' (1994) - Tarantino
Elina Lowensohn in 'Amateur' (1994) - Hal Hartley
Holly Hunter in 'Crash' (1996) - David Cronenberg
Monia Chokri - 'Heartbeats' (2010) - Xavier Dolan

'Band Of Outsiders' (1963) - Godard
'Simple Men' (1992) - Hal Hartley

'Band Of Outsiders' opening credits
logo for Quentin Tarantino's production company....

Friday, February 17, 2012


The only reason I saw this was off the strength that the person responsible for it (first time director Michael Schleinzer) was the casting director for two of the greatest films made in the last decade (Michael Haneke's 'The White Ribbon' & 'The Piano Teacher'). Not that that should be any definite indication that he'd be a great director, but if he had anything to do with the casting of those two films that means he should have SOME kinda talent. An association with the likes of Haneke will get you far on PINNLAND EMPIRE. But unfortunately Schleinzer's directorial debut is almost pointless and not even his association with one of my favorite directors (Haneke) could help him. If you're familiar with the type of film that 'Michael' is and the category/genre it falls under (a humanistic portrayal of child molesters/pedophiles, it may leave you going; "ok, sooooo...?" (similar to my reaction after watching 'Kill List'). I had more than one opportunity to see 'Michael' before it was released in theaters but the subject matter completely turned me off. Much like post-2003 films about high school shootings (see my review of the disappointing 'We Need To Talk About Kevin'), I get a little indifferent towards films about pedophilia these days (I know that sounds odd coming from Todd Solondz' #1 fan but hear me out...). After Dylan Baker's performance in 'Happiness' and Brian Cox's performance in 'L.I.E.' (two criminally underrated and snubbed roles), where else is there to go? What's left too explore in the genre of realistic and/or humanistic portrayals of pedophiles? (Oh and don't worry, I'm not gonna use this blog entry as another platform to rant about how someone else copied Todd Solondz' style)

Between the late 90's &the first half of the last decade, indie film had this sudden fascination with showing not only the reality of child molestation and pedophilia, but actually showing things from the pedophiles point of view, almost bordering on sympathy which is pretty dangerous and fucked up. Films like Francois Ozon's 'Criminal Lovers' (1999), Solondz' 'Happiness' (1998) & 'Palindromes' (2004), Michael Cuesta's 'L.I.E.' (2001) and Greg Araki's 'Mysterious Skin' (2004) are all examples of this. These films helped show people the real horrors of child molestation (and some films like 'Mysterious Skin' & 'L.I.E.' even went so far as to symbolize how important it is for fathers to be present in the lives of their sons). When you show the stereotypical creepy old man with one tooth or the heavily breathing sweaty monstrous man, sometimes it makes pedophilia and child molestation more like a fantasy and less realistic which shouldn't be the case. Hell, the Coen Brothers made us laugh subconsciously at pedophiles with characters like "Jesus" in 'Big Lebowski' (I wonder if people realize that when they wear one of those novelty Big Lebowski shirts with his image on it, they're wearing a picture of a fictitious child molester). The films I listed above were ahead of their time in that they showed us that everyone from the handsome baseball coach ('Mysterious Skin') to the neighborhood "uncle" that everyone loves ('L.I.E.') could have a dark side that no one could possibly know about.

'Happiness' (1998)

'L.I.E.' (2001)

'Mysterious Skin' (2004)

'Criminal Lovers' (1999)

But its 2012 and we (the audience) get it by now; pedophiles are monsters no matter how sympathetic or humanistic you try to portray them on film. Most people already know that a pedophile or sex offender could very well be the last person you expect (which is PART of what 'Michael' tries to convey). Why would someone wanna sit through 90 minutes of something that's super obvious? 'Michael' didn't really bring anything new to the table (outside of showing things from the abused child's perspective). Films like 'Mysterious Skin' & 'L.I.E.' already did what 'Michael' tried to do (show a complex father & son, big brother/little brother, tormented Stockholm syndrome relationship between the child  molester and his victim). In my opinion, when you're making a film about child molestation you kinda have to try and be somewhat original because if not, you're just making a slight variation of a movie that's already been done a million times before and it'll seem like your only purpose was to shock the audience (although that's not the case with this film).
'Michael' shows us the day to day life off "ordinary", middle class, "everyman": "Michael". He goes to work every day where he keeps his head down and socializing to a minimum, has a family that cares for him (a mother, a sister and a brother), pays his bills and does everything else you and I do. The only difference between Michael and the average everyman is that hes keeping a little boy ("Wolfgang") locked up in a secret shed beneath his house. That's right, hes a pedophile (and no one suspects him). His methods are precise and he's very careful not to get caught. But Michael's world slowly starts to crumble and he becomes more and more careless as the film progresses. Only in the final minutes of the film is there any type of a resolution...kinda. I say "kinda" because like I said earlier (as well as in the title of the blog), I felt nothing after watching it (outside of the obvious sympathy for the young kidnapped boy). I wasn't angry, sad, confused, disoriented or anything. All I could do was give a shoulder shrug and head home. If the point of 'Michael' was to show the horrific things that go on beneath the seemingly normal surface, then I'd rather watch 'Happiness'. If you're trying to make a film that questions the idea of what a "Monster" truly is, I'd recommend focusing on something other than a Pedophile because it's a little played out.

However, there were SOME good qualities about the film that shouldn't go unmentioned

Working with Michael Haneke (who got a lot of influence from the later films of Robert Bresson) clearly had an effect on Markus Schleinzer's directorial debut. The somewhat slow pacing, the extended focus on banalities like preparing the table for dinner & washing the dishes afterwards as well as the minimal soundtrack totally reminded me of early Michael Haneke ("The Austrian Years"). I enjoyed the atmosphere of this film very much and I hope Schleinzer keeps it up for his next couple of films...

'Michael' (2011/12)

'The Seventh Continent' (1989)


'The Seventh Continent'


'71 Fragments...' (1994)

Like the ending of Haneke's '71 fragments' or the messages behind 'The 7th Continent' and 'Funny Games', its clear Markus Shcleinzer was trying to make an honest attempt at being thought provoking. Its also clear that not only did he spend lots of time watching early Haneke films, but other dark noir's like 'Vanishing'. Both 'Vanishing' and 'Michael' are about regular family men who are methodically plotting some diabolic criminal activity without anyone being suspicious of them (however the fate of our main character in 'Michael' is completely different than the fate of our villain in 'Vanishing'). Another thing you need to give Markus Schleinzer credit for is that with this kinda subject matter he had a golden opportunity to try and shock the audience (which woulda made it more problematic than it already is). This is such an easy route that quite a few first time directors have gotten caught up in over the years from the racist butcher punching his pregnant wife in the stomach in Gaspar Noe's 'I Stand Alone' to the blood splattering and ear chopping in Tarantino's 'Reservoir Dogs'. Outside of two kinda fucked up scenes that clearly indicate a rape has or will take place, there's no graphic or disturbing imagery. The intentions of the film were good, but I think there needed to be a little more thought put in to the story. Or maybe Schleinzer coulda used his obvious talents (which will serve him well in the future) on a whole different project all together. Whats strange is that I actually have the urge to watch this again. As far as plot or message go, I wanna give 'Michael' a C-/D+. But as far as film making, style and atmosphere go, I wanna give it a A-/B+. I guess no matter how many problems the film has, it still succeeded in some way. It got me to take the time out to write about it on my blog over other/better films that I plan on writing about in the future ('The Reflecting Skin', 'Yi Yi' & 'CQ' to name a few). It managed to draw a positive comparison to some works ('The 7th Continent', '71 Fragments' and 'Vanishing') so it did something right. But overall I wouldn't recommend this to anyone outside of a few people who's tastes i really know.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I've been going over old blog entries here & there to make some adjustments. There may have been a comparison that I missed when I originally wrote something, an important point I completely forgot to make, or maybe I re-watched a movie recently and something just came to me that I hadn't noticed before. In this first installment we take a closer look at the world of movie poster art (specifically action films from the 60's & 70's) and its influence on 'The American' and Kenneth Anger's small influence on 'Drive'. I've also been slowly reading "Brutal Intimacy"; a new book/analysis on modern french cinema with a focus on feature film debuts, the coming of age genre and the "the new french extremity" scene (Gaspar Noe, Bruno Dumont, Marina De Van, Francois Ozon, Marina De Van, etc). While I'm reading a film book I usually like to have the related films on rotation at the same time. Marina De Van's 'In My Skin' has been on heavy rotation for the last few days and there's a few more quick points I forgot to make when I originally wrote this over a year ago.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Only Wong Kar Wai could open my mind up to the world of romance, sensuality and sensitivity in film. Before discovering his work, almost anything centered around romance was corny and/or stupid to me. Its no mystery that the LARGE majority of films centered around romance are geared towards women, but sometimes its nice to show a non-misogynistic male point of view on the subject every once in a while...which is what Wong Kar Wai does. Had it not been for his work, I wouldn't have been able to fully understand the work of his contemporaries like Apichatpong Weerasethakul (another male director who explores the world of romance, sensitivity and sensuality among men), Francois Ozon, Lynne Ramsay and yes...Claire Denis (in fact I used a quote from Wong Kar Wai at the beginning of my "Cinema Of Claire Denis" blog entry). The story of how 'Chungking Express' came about is pretty cool. For those of you who don't know, Wong Kar Wai was in the middle of editing his martial arts epic; 'Ashes Of Time' (another film you all should check out), and got so stressed and tired of the whole process that he took a 2 month break from working on 'Ashes Of Time' to make something more personal on a smaller scale. Furthermore, he made the film in only three weeks, didn't have a full script (which is apparently a common thing for him), yet still managed to shoot it in sequential order. Whats even funnier is that only until recently did this smaller film ('Chungking Express') manage to have more staying power than the bigger epic film that he was taking a break from ('Ashes Of Time').

After the very heavy stuff, heavily emphasized in Ashes of Time, I wanted to make a very light, contemporary movie, but where the characters had the same problems - Wong Kar Wai

'Chungking Express' also managed to become somewhat of a crossover hit in the U.S. (on the indie scene). It was one of the many indie films of the 90's that somehow managed to have Quentin Tarnatino's name associated with it. As some of you may know, I've had serious problems with Tarnatino in recent years from his highly disappointing 'Inglorious Basterds' to his next project which just sounds like "Pulp Slavery" to me. I mean, I've always thought he was a (racially) confused spazz, but its been getting worse over the years. When you have Tarantino's name attached to your project (even if he had NOTHING at all to do with it artistically) its kind of a double edged sword. On one hand, you have the most influential director of the last 20 years (this may be painful for some of you to hear, myself included, but its true) co-signing your film which means that people will obviously go see it. Plus its also nice to know that no matter how big someone gets, they never forget their indie roots and aren't afraid to stand by a small film.

Then on the other hand you get this...

That's right. All your hard work is essentially given credit to someone who didn't even direct, write or produce it and it gets billed as "Quentin Tarantino's". I really hate when films are billed incorrectly. As a former videostore employee I cant tell you how many debates & arguments I've had with people on whether or not Quentin Tarantino directed 'Hero', 'Desperado', 'From Dusk Til Dawn', 'Killing Zoe' and even 'Oldboy' (HE FUCKING DIDN'T, btw). But say what you will, Tarantino is still quite the movie buff and he knows good movies. Him putting his name on 'Chungking Express' (even though Wong Kar Wai directed it) is proof of that...
'Chungking Express' is made up of two separate stories told from the perspective of two different police officers (one detective, one beat cop) in Hong Kong who both just recently broke up with their girlfriends, but are hanging on to the possibility that their loved ones will come back to them. Eventually, a new woman comes in to each of their lives and they slowly start to move on. If you ever wanted an example of a "jazzy" film, it would definitely be this. The free form cinematography, lingering shots, sensual body language (especially from the women in the first story) and haunting voice-over narration all drive the jazziness of the film home. Its hard to categorize this (which is a good thing). Its not a comedy yet there's plenty of light hearted quirkiness and silly moments. Its also not a drama, yet there is a subplot involving criminal activity and someone does get murdered in the middle of the film. And instead of having both plots heavily intertwine with one another (like almost every single ensemble indie film did in the 90's), there's only one extremely brief scene in which 2 primary characters from both stories cross paths. Other than that, Wong Kar Wai connects both stories together through similar characters, scenes and themes (both protagonists are cops, they both recently broke up with their girlfriends, they both hang on to the past, both stories feature female love interests dressed in disguised and Wong Kar Wai even throws in similar shots from one story to the next)...

In the first story, we follow a police detective
who falls in love with a femme fatal/drug
trafficker who takes on the disguise of
Gena Rowlands from 'Gloria'. He has no
idea she's a wanted criminal. 

The second is about a beat cop who broke
up w/ his flight attendant girlfriend and is
essentially being stalked by a curious food
stand worker. In the end she dresses up like
a  flight attendant to humor him.

Wong Kar Wai throws in almost identical shots in both stories to make things more cohesive. Below we see two shots from the same film where are our main lovebirds from both stories fall asleep together in a very similar position...

story #1

story #2

And in this single freeze framed image below (this moment is captured as a freeze frame in the film) we see the only time our main characters from both stories cross paths with one another. To me, this was a pretty radical statement made by the director. Instead of doing what every director was doing at that time (connecting and intertwining everything), he did pretty much the opposite.

Whether or not Wong Kar Wai completely knew what he was doing, the outcome was very clever. Instead of making male protagonists that were either complete sensitive pussies or complete masculine manly men assholes, he took a little from both types and disguised them in the form of a cool police officer so that men wouldn't feel insecure or silly about relating to a male who was in touch with his feelings. Kind of a silly tactic but hey, sometimes its tough for guys to be sensitive or relate to a sensitive character. Thanks to the criterion collection we finally have a much better version of this film (without Tarantino's grill on the cover). If you wanna lay low for Valentines Day and just stay in or if you're looking for a film to watch w/ a girlfriend then I highly recommend this.


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