August 19, 2003

Puzzling Can Be A Good Thing

Darcy3.jpgSometimes Cinecultist likes to play a little game, what do these movies have in common? The pictures in question, screened in the last few days, are Hidden Fortress (a Kurosawa/Mifune at BAM), Double Happiness (a Canadian indie on IFC) and Charlotte Sometimes (a recent indie at Cinema Village). After some brain crunching we decided what makes these movies interconnected (besides the fact that CC watched them all within a few days of each other), are their puzzling Asian women characters. Jet black hair, defiant eyes, murky motives and ready to kick a little ass, we can't take our eyes away.

hidden_fortress.jpgCC really loved watching Yojimbo last week, an earlier entry in the BAM series, but CC and our samourai-loving friend MD agreed that the Fortress left a little to be desired. A half hour too long, a meandering plot and not enough fight scenes left us itching for other Kurosawas we'd loved before. But the film does contain one serious Princess Yuki in some serious short shorts. She'd as soon smack you with her bamboo switch as look at you. Perhaps our general disappointment in the movie springs from wanting the fortress to be more blatently like the Death Star, since it's established among sci-fi geeks that Lucas drew extensively from the film for the Star Wars trilogy. We decided hashing out how bits from each movie coincided was a little too dorky, even for us.

sandra.gif Sandra Oh, one of the Canadian thespian elite, should be experiencing some serious US cross-over soon as she's set to appear in a bunch of new releases including Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane and she's married to indie auteur Alexander Payne. Also, she kicks some serious ass. Her performance is this 1994 release, Double Happiness is really delightful and will make you forget she ever graced the HBO small screen in Arliss. CC shudders to even think of it. Here Oh plays an actress caught between her Chinese parents traditional expectations and her aspirations for independence. Check it out on tv or from your local video store so you too can say you knew Sandra when.

Our third intriguing Asian chick is Jacqueline Kim, the eponymous Darcy/Charlotte in Eric Byles's Charlotte Sometimes. What's she doing? Where's she going? Who will she screw over next? We're puzzled but still incredibly intrigued. One of the sexiest movies Cinecultist has seen in a long time, as the currents of tension flash between the four leads CC could almost see the air crackle. We'd liked the trailer but really went after reading Mike D'Angelo's rave in Time Out New York a few weeks ago. About loneliness and family and desire and all those good things, it's the bet kind of independent filmmaking. And though the Asian-ness of the actors and director is on the narrative's periphery, it's still intriguingly essential at the same time.

Posted by karen at August 19, 2003 12:36 AM