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In the Mood for Tony Leung, naturally. And other HK classics.

Sometimes I feel like I’m stagnating.  Nothing feels fresh or new and every new movie or piece of pop culture is the same as the last.  Whilst I continue to enjoy my constant headbutting with movies and literature I come away with the feeling that I’ve not challenged myself in any meaningful way.  Whilst internet communities at large will have you believe that movie-watching is purely about “having fun”, I also like to think that there’s a positive purpose to it that involves pushing the envelopes of our understanding and bettering ourselves as people.

What I’m trying to say is that I need a new project and I’ve been struggling to find something that isn’t either overtly intellectual or too trashy, since both become a little tiring if overindulged.  Today it dawned on me that for all my bluster about watching “foreign movies” I’ve slipped away from exploring new types of film in favour of catching up on Modern Hollywood classics.  Having watched and admired the duo of Come Drink With Me and Golden Swallow these last two days I felt at home with the culturally unfamiliar again.  I came across an excellent list of 100 Greatest Hong Kong movies from Timeout and was shocked at how many I hadn’t even heard of, letalone watched.  Sure, I’ve seen Once Upon A Time in China and The Killer and  In the Mood For Love and so on, but not a lot of the movies that never received arthouse attention in the west.  Westerners have a tendency to be faddy about Eastern cinema, clinging onto the genre staples and discarding the non-popular, just as we do with our own movies. It also occurred to me that I’ve dipped in and out of Bollywood the last few years but never made an effort to watch the classic staples of Bollywood cinema, so I’m going to do that too.  Totalfilm have published what I understand is a very flawed list of 50 greats, but I chose this one to watch through because it does at least dare to highlight movies from 1950-2010.  I’ll brush up on the others when I’m done.  There aren’t a lot of good Bollywood movie lists out there, though there’s a good looking book “100 Bollywood Films by Rachel Dwyer” that should help.

I’m excited by this 150 movie project because it’s going to mean a significant reduction in the amount of Western movies that I watch over the next couple of years (I’ll still be watching new releases at the cinema and I have a rom-com thing going on right now, too anyway).  It’s also going to be a challenge to get hold of some of the films and the chase is just a little bit fun too!  It’s not a feminism related movie project and I’m staggeringly not qualified to talk about the role of women in Chinese or Indian society and wouldn’t dare to.   I will attempt to update my progress and throw out some recommendations when I encounter some good stuff though!

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Categories: Movies Tags: , , ,
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