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2019 – A New Year

24 Jan

Call Me Mother (2018 Korean Drama)

It has been some time since my last post – over six months. In that time, I have read many good books, watched many excellent films, and developed a new passion for Korean drama. I have not, however, been able to write about any of that, but I want to correct that this year.

I have been considering whether or not to include the occasional review of Korean dramas (called Kdramas) on this blog. They are often 16 episode series, which tell a continuous story. They can be thrillers or romances or comedies or fantasies…though Kdramas often seem very comfortable including random, unexplained fantasy elements in their stories: the ability to read someone’s mind, time travel, made-up medical syndromes. My own persona favorite Korean drama is the 2018 series called Call Me Mother, a low-level thriller that is really a drama about motherhood in all its manifestations.

But since Korean dramas do not exactly fit in with the general theme of my blog, I am hesitating about including any reviews. However, I might try one or two reviews, just to see how things go.

I have also been continuing with my passion for Japanese Cinema. I am thinking of writing a piece on some of the great Japanese directors of the 1950s: Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse.

Another lovely discovery has been the two French film comedians and directors: Jacques Tati and Pierre Etaix. They made films during the ’50’s, ’60’s, and ’70’s, but are heavily influenced by silent comedy, though they also make inspired and hilarious use of sound.

I would like to develop a post about my growing (highly amateur) appreciation of cinema as an art form worthy of the same respect as poetry, architecture, opera, drama, or any other recognized art. I would also like to air out a theory about the use of music in a film. I’m beginning to get very opinionated about that, actually. Maybe that will be my next post! I will include Tati, Etaix, the film Dunkirk, Lord of the Rings, Pre-code cinema, Ozu and silent movies.

Yasujiro Ozu – I cannot admire his films too much!

I’ve been reading a lot of British literature from the Victorian era, as well. I would like to perhaps write some reviews on some of the books I have read (and am reading). I am currently also reading Les Miserables, which I have decided is part history, part journalism, and part fictional story. Victor Hugo seems to have never met a literary aside that he didn’t like or want to share. He is positively brimming with opinions and things he wants to share with his reader. He makes Charles Dickens’ look positively restrained! But there is no denying the power of his story or his writing (when he isn’t telling the reader about the battle of Waterloo; it takes him about sixty pages just to get back to the story). But his story is well-nigh un-killable. It even survives bad adaptations (for a really good adaptation, try the 1934 French version of Les Miserables, directed by Raymond Bernard).

Sir Walter Scott has also been on my radar, mostly because he was so vastly influential on the Victorians (most notably the Brontë sisters). His poetry is mentioned in Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. There are a small group of dedicated fans who maintain that his literature is far more artful than is generally credited and I am willing to give him a try, focusing on his novels set in Scotland, rather than his most popular medieval work, Ivanhoe.

I hope everyone else is doing well. I would love to hear what everyone is reading, watching, thinking, music they are listening to. It should be a good year of movies, music, and books! I look forward to it.

 
15 Comments

Posted by on January 24, 2019 in Books, Movies

 

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15 responses to “2019 – A New Year

  1. stephencwinter

    January 25, 2019 at 5:06 am

    Great to see you writing in the blogosphere once again!
    I know very little of either Korean or Japanese cinema although Kurosawa has been on my list of “must watch” work for some time now. Perhaps it is the need to watch his Seven Samurai because of The Magnificent Seven, a long time favourite of mine.
    The BBC is currently broadcasting a new dramatisation of Les Miserables. It is very good although the trailers that they play to publicise it are shallow by comparison with Hugo’s story and the fine adaptation by Andrew Davies. I agree with you about Hugo’s utter disregard for constraint. I think that Dickens use of serialisation gives his work a certain discipline that Hugo lacks but I have read Les Miserables and I loved it although I followed a tip to miss out the Battle of Waterloo. There is only one incident that matters and that is Thenardier’s alleged rescue of Baron Pontmercy.
    I am going to write a reflection on Les Miserables after the dramatisation concludes for the magazines of the parishes in which I now work. I will post it on my blog when I do. The story has a profound impact on me.
    By the way I will try to watch Bernard’s 1934 film. Thank you for the recommendation.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • christinawehner

      January 25, 2019 at 6:40 pm

      Thanks! It feels good to be writing again!

      I am very curious about the new BBC Les Miserables! I’ve enjoyed many of Andrew Davies’ adaptations (the first one I ever saw was the 1995 Pride and Prejudice). Did you see his War and Peace? I have not seen it, but am rather curious about it.

      I look forward very much to being able to read your reflection on Les Miserables!

      I think maybe I should have skimmed the Battle of Waterloo, too. I actually read a quote from Sir Walter Scott about what he called “the laudable practice of skipping.” 🙂

      The Seven Samurai, I think, is a great way to get into Japanese films. Kurosawa liked to think of himself as being less a Japanese director and more a universal one, and drew a lot of his ideas from American westerns, Shakespeare, and Dostoevsky. And in essence, George Lucas’ ideas of Jedi’s derives from Kurosawa and his samurai – Jedi are basically just samurai in space…though I think the newer movies have moved further away from that and lost touch with that original inspiration.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • stephencwinter

        January 26, 2019 at 1:22 am

        I did see War and Peace and liked it very much. Andrew Davies is a really skilful adapter of classic texts. He has the ability to reduce a book of over 1,000 pages to six episodes of a hour’s length while keeping the essence and integrity of the text.
        So Sir Walter Scott recommended skipping! He should have followed his own advice and done a bit of cutting.

        Liked by 1 person

         
  2. The Animation Commendation

    January 25, 2019 at 8:17 am

    I read Les Miserables and loved it, but oh my goodness, that guy can sure go on tangents! I skimmed through the tangent sections.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • christinawehner

      January 25, 2019 at 6:42 pm

      Yes, I think that works really well for Victor Hugo! I was reading a quote from Sir Walter Scott, who talked about “the laudable practice of skipping.” 🙂 It’s such a great story, though, isn’t it! I will get frustrated with him, but then get sucked in again every time.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  3. Eric Binford

    January 25, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Welcome back! I missed reading your essays. Hope you are doing okay.

    Anyhow, I love Japanese cinema too. I’m a huge fan of Mizoguchi, Kurosawa, Hiroshi Teshigahara (The Face of Another) and Masaki Kobayashi (Samurai Rebellion). Have you seen Yoji Yamada’s trilogy (The Hidden Blade, The Twilight Samurai, Love and Honor)? They are very interesting samurai-dramas.

    As for Korean movies, I tend to love the country’s thrillers, specifically Park Chan-wook’s and Bong Joon-ho’s movies. I’m not familiar with the “Kdramas” so I am looking forward to reading your reviews. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • christinawehner

      January 25, 2019 at 6:56 pm

      Thanks so much! I feels rather exciting to write a post again! 🙂

      I know I mentioned it before, and was not able to follow up on it, but I was wondering if you would still be interested in doing a blogathon dedicated to the year 1941 and all the great movies that came out that year? I think I need to get back into the groove of writing and reading in the blogging community, but really would like to be able to host a blogathon on that subject. It’s such a great year!

      So glad to know of a fellow Japanese cinephile! I think they must make some of the finest movies ever in the history of cinema. I have not seen Yoji Yamada or Hiroshi Teshigahara yet, but will have to look for them!

      I was pretty much blown away with Samurai Rebellion by Kobayashi. I don’t think anyone can depict the crushing power of a system and its effects on the individual better than directors like Mizoguchi or Kobayashi.

      I have not seen too many Korean movies yet, though I’ve begun to research them. Some of them have a bit too much violence for me, I must admit (I am very interested in seeing Memories of a Murder, though, and enjoyed The Host). Though the Korean drama Call Me Mother does have the same writer who wrote Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, but there is not much overlap in general between the movie and tv world in Korean. Most actors, directors, and writers do not work much in both fields. Also, sadly, Korean dramas are not always very strong visually. The writers tend to be far more important than the directors, so story becomes more important. But I do find them very addictive! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Eric Binford

        January 26, 2019 at 3:33 pm

        Samurai Rebellion is fantastic! Harakiri is pretty great too! A few favorites: Yasuzo Masumura’s Manji (1964) and Red Angel (1966), and Masahiro Shinoda’s noir classic Pale Flower (1964).

        I get what you are saying about Korean thrillers and violence. Maybe you should try Bong Joon-ho’s brilliant Mother … it’s less violent than most Korean thrillers. Also, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, a character-driven, feminist thriller.

        Liked by 1 person

         
      • Eric Binford

        January 26, 2019 at 3:40 pm

        “… would still be interested in doing a blogathon dedicated to the year 1941?” … A big YES!!! Let me know. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

         
        • christinawehner

          January 26, 2019 at 5:33 pm

          Wonderful! I’m so glad! I will look at my schedule and then maybe we can come up with a time several months from now. I was thinking maybe to allow any movie made in any country, as long as it is from 1941.

          Liked by 1 person

           
  4. Silver Screenings

    January 29, 2019 at 9:19 am

    So glad to see you back with your fab blog. 🙂 It sounds like you’ve been cultivating varied interests, which I hope you will share with us. I always learn something from you.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • christinawehner

      January 29, 2019 at 11:56 am

      Thanks! I am really looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks on some of these topics I want to write about. Like sound and music in film.

      Like

       
  5. Realweegiemidget Reviews

    February 10, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Lovely to have you back and adore your idea about Korean Dramas – go for it, they sound really interesting and love to read more on them. Think they would fit in perfectly. Hope all well with you and welcome back .

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • christinawehner

      February 11, 2019 at 7:27 pm

      Thanks you very much for the encouragement and feedback! I will try to get a post up about a Korean dramas very soon. Along with links of where to see them.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Realweegiemidget Reviews

        February 12, 2019 at 7:41 am

        Looking forward to it, and so happy you back going to mention it a third time. BTW doing an Angela Lansbury blogathon starting Sat and still time for you to enter… (no pressure)

        Like

         

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