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    • CommentAuthorgrenville
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2006
     
    I hadn't seen Yi Yi but had heard about it. I was reading in the New York Times about the new Criterion edition, but managed to get my hands on the Region 4 edition which must be better quality than the old US version the NYT was complaining about. I don't remember ever seeing any Edward Yang films before, but YI YI is one of those little delights you can easily miss. Don't be put off by a three hour story about an averagely functional Taiwanese family in which nothing much happens except that a baby is born, grandma dies, mother goes off to a monastery, daughter forgets to put out the garbage, dad rekindles his first love and uncle is in debt again and addicted to horoscopes and the Chinese good luck almanac. Lovely little film. The commentary track is nothing special. Why is that the filmmakers who seem to make the best films give the most uninspiring DVD commentaries?

    I will probably, unless I can find a way to avoid it, be off to Melbourne bloody Awstralia next week. Now there is a place to avoid in winter.

    Found this in article in an online Chinese newspaper. This guy doesn't qualify for a Darwin award because he is still in the gene pool, but he should voluntarily disqualify himself. The story wonderfully captures the new China I know and don't always love:

    Flaming dog meat sets Chinese school afire
    A Chinese headmaster, who tried to buy off colleagues by cooking dog meat for them after secretly selling off trees around the school, ended up setting fire to classrooms when the meal burst into flames, a Chinese newspaper said on Friday.

    Ten classrooms containing televisions, computers, printers and textbooks burnt down, leaving nearly 100 children unable to go to school, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

    The headmaster, in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, sold off a 1,000-tree arboretum surrounding the school on the sly, the newspaper said.

    "In order to get the teachers not to tell anyone what he had done, on the afternoon of May 16, headmaster Meng got friends to obtain two dogs, which they proceeded to kill on the school grounds," the report said.

    "He then told the teachers they would have dog meat to eat that afternoon," it added.

    But the plan went awry when the dog being baked burst into flames and set fire to the school's main office and then the classrooms.

    The local education bureau fined the headmaster 10,000 yuan (677 pounds) and suggested he be fired, the newspaper said.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2006-07/21/content_646808.htm
    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2006
     
    "The local education bureau fined the headmaster 10,000 yuan (677 pounds) and suggested he be fired, the newspaper said."

    Gee. You think it'd be a good idea to fire the guy who stole and sold off school property and then burned the school down while trying to cover up his theft?
    •  
      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2006
     
    Sounds like a pleasant enough fellow. Mmm dog.

    I've heard about Yi Yi for a while now, but have never gone out of my way to find it. The new criterion edition intrigued me, so I might see if I can rent it...

    As far as commentaries go, I agree. With the exception of Kevin Smith, there are rarely great commentaries on great movies. This is strange, I guess, though some movies do have good commentaries. I'd like to see more commentaries by fans or film experts like the Ebert one on Dark City or the ones Criterion has on Kurosawa movies... I guess there's always the internet commentaries that you can download, though I've never tried any of those... (see blog for more on commentaries)...

    ~tallman
    • CommentAuthorgrenville
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2006
     
    I haven't heard the Kevin Smith commentaries. I'll have to check them out. A couple of really good ones are the cast commentary on Quest for Fire (the classic caveman movie) with Ron Perlman, Rae Dawn Chong and others talking about running about stark naked in the cold, running away from tions with fake sabre teeth, prehistoric blow jobs and the origins of the missionary position.

    Another coomentary worth listening to, if only for cringe value, is Abel Ferrera'a director's commentary on King of New York special edition. He is refreshingly honest about why he hired certain actresses. Most director's lie and say stuff like "[name of actress] is so talented. She bings such depth of character to the film", but Abe is an unashamed tits and arse man and refreshingly honest about the physical qualities he looks for in actresses.