Skip to main content

My attempt at Filmspotting's Top 5 List

I just finished listening to Filmspotting podcast, episode #296, and I've been inspired to begin a small project. My concept of great cinema has changed now that I live in a place with so many choices. When I lived in Anchorage, I primarily saw movies at the local Art House, Capri Cinema. Rand, being an out gay man, tended to show a lot of GLBT cinema as well as the better known independent/art house films. The years I lived in Columbia, I watched more mainstream film and really, just about everything that came to town that sounded at all interesting. But in Seattle, the choices are overwhelming by comparison. Sometimes I'll see a classic film, or a film with a lot of buzz, and there are a lot of foreign language films, because of the wide variety of cinema I have access to, I am now a very devoted fan of Asian cinema. The filmmakers in Hong Kong, Korea, China, Japan, Thailand are incredible. And this isn't at all limited to the genre films that have made Asian film world renowned, like the Hong Kong martial arts film, Japanese horror, or Anime. There are as many genres in Asia as there are in America, and now that I'm looking for them, most of my new favorites are Asian.

However, being a general fan of film, I still watch At the Movies (RIP) and listen to a few movie podcasts, like Filmspotting, but now I am very aware of how little is said about Asian cinema. So, I'm taking it upon myself to add to Matty and Adam's weekly top 5 list, by attempting to create an alternative eastern, top 5 list.

This occurred to me last week, when listening to their list of the top 5 movies of 1998. I found their lists very disappointing and discovered a major portion of my library seems to be from 1998. Pi, Run Lola Run, Velvet Goldmine, Babe: Pig in the City, and a few that they mentioned Buffalo '66, Shakespeare in Love, and There's Something about Mary. But I needed to find out what Asian cinema was being enjoyed in 1998. This is what I found;

Bullet Ballet (Japan) Dir. Shinya Tsukamoto
Kiki's Delivery Service (Japan) Dir. Hayao Miyazaki
The Emporor and the Assasin (China) Dir. Chen Kaige
After Life (Japan) Dir. Hirokazu Koreeda
The Hole (Taiwan) Dir. Ming-liang Tsai
The Bird People in China (Japan) Dir. Takashi Miike
Dr. Akagi (Japan) Dir. Shohei Imamura

That's an impressive list of films by very world acclaimed filmmakers, but sadly, I've only seen three of these films at this time. This makes it difficult to make a top 5 Asian films of 1998, but I can highly recommend Kiki's Delivery Service. The jury is still out on Bullet Ballet (haven't seen the whole film just yet) but generally I adore Shinya Tsukamoto's films. and the Emperor and the Assassin was beautiful, but a bit too cold and intellectual for my taste.

But this week was colorful movie titles, that is, movies with a color in the title. This project was a lot harder than anticipated, but I did find some Asian films to plug in for this list.

Color Movies

1. Tears of the Black Tiger
2. Flight of the Red Balloon
3. The Bride with White Hair
4. Black Tight Killers

Sadly, I'm a title short. Also, some might question the inclusion of Flight of the Red Balloon as it is a French film, in French, but it totally counts since it was made by Taiwanese director, Hou Hsiao-hsien. I also highly recommend all 4 titles. I'm just sorry that I could not include Zhang Yimou's Red Sorghum or Raise the Red Lantern, but alas, I've yet to watch either film. I need to remedy this.


Clearly, the fifth film you are looking for is Satoshi Kon's Perfect Blue. Or possibly Chen Kaige's Yellow Earth.

Candace said…
Come hang out at the Filmspotting forum. Lots of Pacific Northwest folks are at the forum, all film lovers. We make lists! Candace aka saltine

Popular posts from this blog

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhastan

Right after seeing Sacha Baron Cohen's film, Borat, I was disappointed. I didn't laugh nearly as hard as I had hoped and it wasn't quite as outrageous as I had expected. But in retrospect, I have to admit the comic brilliance of Borat. Sacha Baron Cohen has adeptly created a film about a fictional man, Borat, from a fictionalized Kazakhastan and used this creation to show the hipocracy of America. Using tactics pioneered by reality television shows, Borat travels across America on a quest to find his true love, Pamela Anderson. On this journey, he meets numerous people who share their thoughts about a multitude of things, exposing the way some Americans really believe about race, class, homosexuality and the other sex. It is a very interesting film. Sure, it gets laughs from ambushing Pamela Anderson with a wedding bag, traveling with a bear, and a bit of naked wrestling, but this film is also very smart in its sly portrayal of the wealth of prejudices that are ali

Girls who are boys, who like boys to be girls...

Where does one begin? Peaches Does Herself is a German concert movie of Peaches. Written by, Directed by and starring Peaches. But how does one describe this experience? Normally, I skip the Face the Music program of films at SIFF each year, but Peaches Does Herself was described as the queerest film in the festival. As it turns out, I knew exactly one Peaches song prior and still know little to nothing about her, but it didn't matter. I enjoyed the music and most of all, I loved her persona. Her sexuality was on display and was not only unapologetic, but read as loud as if it were a billboard with "fuck normalcy and judgement, this is who I am" in bright pink neon. To give an overall impression of the film, I've decided just to lay out what happens along with stills. I suspect that is the best I can do for readers to decide whether this is something they should seek out. The film begins in Peaches' bedroom and after the dancers climb through a giant vu

Brand Upon the Brain! And more horror...

Brand Upon the Brain (2007) - I'm on so much crack! I'm a huge fan of horror. Guy Maddin! I love his movies and he was just in Seattle to perform Brand Upon the Brain! I'm certain I've written about Guy Maddin's films in the past, because he has been in Seattle several times for screenings and discussions of his work, especially since he spent quite a bit of time here casting, filming and scoring Brand Upon the Brain! with all local talent. What is so unique about Guy Maddin is that he creates modern, silent expressionist horror movies. His other films have been scored and therefore have the look and feel of a 1920s era silent picture without being silent. Brand Upon the Brain! is a silent movie and his best feature thus far. Like much of Maddin's previous work, this is totally autobiographical, or to quote Guy, "The thing is literally a true story - only much, much better." The main character is the prepubescent, Guy Maddin (Sullivan Brow