I was looking back at some old posts the other day, and a sudden realisation hit me. In a couple of weeks time, this little Asian movie experiment will have been going on for a year. My original idea to talk about 10-15 movies failed pretty early on, and I still have a handful of those original films that I have yet to talk about. I have been really good about keeping my focus (I think only one comic book post, and I have avoided football altogether – which was very hard as Tottenham have had one of their best seasons in my memory). I guess I am a little proud of myself!
I thought I would take a little time out to do a little questions and answers, a little FAQ if you like. It is a bit of a cheat, as I am not exactly overwhelmed with comments on the blog, so I am going to use things people have asked me in the past, plus a some questions I have considered myself. Normal service will be resumed very soon, with one of the best films I have ever seen.
Why Things Fall Apart?
My most common question, and not an easy answer. I know the most common use of the phrase is the English Language African novel by Chinua Achebe. I am ashamed to say I have never read the novel, yet I also know a good percentage of people who find this side have come across me because they are looking for some insight. Sorry about that. I also know that the line itself is from the W.B. Yeats poem “The Second Coming”, but again, the inspiration was not from there. I actually mis-remembered the title as being from an issue of Grant Morrison’s “Doom Patrol” comic – however, I have since found out that actually it was from an issue of his “The Invisibles”. Which is rather typical of me actually! However, the fact is that there is no deep meaning to having chosen the title for this blog. I have thought about changing it in the past, but the effort involved seems rather pointless. Because at the end of the day – I like it.
What Are The Missing Movies You Keep Talking About?
When I started on this project, I really thought I would keep it up for a couple of months, and then either let the whole thing lie fallow, if indeed I finished it at all. You will see from earlier posts that I really struggled to make the blog work for me, and ended up all over the place. I realised I needed focus, and various events in my life made writing about Asian Movies something I knew I could put some effort into. I had been a long time fan, but for various reasons I had not really been following the scene for a little while. I wrote a short list of the films I really wanted to talk about, and used that as my starting point. However, very quickly I started investigating other films by Directors and Actors I enjoyed, and special Things Fall Apart friend also started to point me into directions here and there. So it very quickly mutated and became something a little different as I rediscovered my love for Asian Cinema.
The other problem that I have had is that some of the movies I still want to talk about mean an awful lot to me, and I am not ready to express my feelings on them, not do I feel (even after a year) that I have discovered my writing voice yet, in order to do them justice.
A recent PC crash has actually meant I lost the original list, and as with all lists thing would change anyway. However, I will make you this promise – the following 4 movies will get covered before I reach number 100: “My Sassy Girl”, “Oldboy”, “Uzumaki” and “Kairo”. I did kind of promise myself that “My Sassy Girl” would be the last movie I spoke about, this might still happen, but the odds on this are lengthening.
Do you like Western Movies?
Of course I do. I watch and love an awful lot of Western Cinema. I just don’t talk about it here. Actually I watch a lot of cinema from all around the world. There are Directors and Actors I love just as much as those as the ones I talk about here.
How Do You Watch Asian Films?
All sorts of ways. Sometimes sitting down, sometimes lying down. Oh OK, you mean what format! Well I have an extensive DVD collection (more on this later) as well as a few Blu-Ray disks. And just to show my age I have a few videocassettes also. I am not too proud to say I will download movies from the internet, but if I really love a movie I will always attempt to purchase a copy. I’ll usually watch a film on my television, or on my laptop. I also have a nice tool which enables me to watch films on my iPhone, which I will do if I am on the move. And yes, I do want an iPad.
Subtitles or Dubbing?
The eternal question for world cinema fans. I have found the casual observer tends to prefer dubbing, the enthusiast prefers subtitles. I am definitely a subtitle fan, in fact I cannot stand dubbed movies. I much prefer hearing the original voices (although in older Hong Kong movies of course the native Cantonese dialect is replaced by dubbed Mandarin), and I really enjoy the more lyrical quality of the Korean language being spoken.
This does have its own issues though. Most Korean and Japanese DVDs have excellently translated subtitles, but oddly enough many Hong Kong films have subtitles that are atrocious. The irony that Hong Kong was under British rule for 99 years is not lost on me. The problem seems to be that often everything gets translated word for word literally, rather than exacting the meaning that was intended. You do get used to it after a while though. Plus sometimes it adds a certain something to the film.
Saying all that, I usually watch animated films with the English dubbing on. But that is just a quirk with me.
Why Don’t You Rate The Movies?
I struggle with this also. Most other reviewers will rate individual movies with a rating out of 5 or 10 or 100. They might tart this up with something like 3 chopsticks out of 5. I just cannot do this. Sometimes I might enjoy a movie more the second time around, or my current mood may mean I under or overrate a film. I also struggle with comparing films of differing genres against the same rating scale. For example, can you really compare a film like “Windstruck”, with all its faults, but that means so much to me emotionally, with another film like “Diary” which I adore for totally different reasons? Moreover, can one film get a rating of 89, and another 88? Have do I work out what that 1% value is? You may notice that recently I have been using Highly Recommended, Recommended or Avoid. This is not consistently used, but it is as much of a rating system as I am comfortable with at present.
You Don’t Update That Other Blog Very Much – Why?
Good intentions but lack of time I am afraid. http://thepaintingthatateparis.blogspot.com/ is something I will eventually get back to, but frankly I have found it quite hard work both giving it the time, plus having the necessary inspiration to do it justice. I will probably change how I post to it a little, rather than ploughing through the Doom Patrol on an issue-by-issue basis. Plus no-one was reading it. Things Fall Apart gets about 10-15 hits a day, which means that someone out there likes what I am doing, so for now, this will be my online focus.
Have Your Tastes Changed Over The Year?
Hell yes. When I started this, I think you could safely say I was only really aware of Japanese Horror, along with a few other well known films. My re-introduction to Korean Cinema opened my eyes to things such as romance films, and more recently I have been given a ground level introduction to a lot more Hong Kong cinema, especially in the Wuxia genre. I enjoy finding out about new things so this is all good. Thank you to the person who is helping grow and expand my tastes. You know who you are.
Is Your Blog Popular?
Nope. But it is as popular as I am happy with.
I use Google Analytics to get an idea of how often the blog is looked at. Now there have been a few days in the last year that have no captured data (I did not start using it initially, plus I forgot to add the code into the new template when I changed the look and feel).
If you want the statistics that I like looking at:
- I have been visited by 99 different countries (plus a number where the country was not set, which is reported as 100). I seem to have been hit by most major countries on all continents – although oddly I have never had a hit from China (although I have had plenty form Taiwan and Hong Kong). I suspect this might be more to do with Google vs. the Chinese Government.
- I have had about 2500 different visitors, of which a pleasing amount come back for more.
- I have only had one day with NO visitors
- The most visits I have had in one day is 26
- Other than the majority of visits that land on my root page, the most popular posts (since Asian Cinema become my main focus) have been for Azumi (although I think that is because people are searching for information on Azumi 3 – and it happens to be my 3rd post), Once Upon A Time In High School, Haeundae and Beyond Our Ken.
- People put the strangest things into search engines.
The most popular countries I have been visited by are the USA, followed quite closely by the UK.
I Would Like To Ask You A Question – How Do I Get In Contact With You?
Well for now, please use the blogger comments – you can do this anonymously if you want. I am trying to set up a specific email account for the blog, but Microsoft are very stingy about people applying for .hotmail.co.uk and .live.co.uk addresses at the moment. I would really like more discussion with the people who read what I have to say, and especially those who disagree with me completely!
I Really Liked The Sound Of A Film You Spoke About – But How Do I Get Myself A Copy?
Well, I will stick with the legal routes :)
There are many ways to get Asian DVDs, as long as you have a multi-region DVD player (I am assuming you are asking because you don’t live in Asia). I tend to use http://www.yesasia.com, http://www.sensation.com, and http://www.hkflix.com. Other sites are available of course. Here in the UK I find http://www.amazon.co.uk and http://www.play.com have a reasonable selection of World Cinema DVDs available, but only in their Region 2 format.
On a related note, you may wonder why I don’t link to these sites in my reviews. I have thought about this, and I could certainly set myself up as an affiliate with at least one of the above sites. However, I am not here for any monetary gain, nor to I want to be forced to review something I don’t love.
Are There Other Sites You Recommend?
If you look around the internet you will find hundreds of sites like mine, and plenty more that are much more interesting. However, there are a handful I will share with you:
http://www.fareastfilms.com. A great news site, with some really excellent reviews. I am an occasional poster on the forum too.
http://www.lovehkfilm.com/. For reviews you really cannot knock this site. Way more involved than my little pieces, I really enjoy spending hours in here. It is very Hong Kong biased, but the pan-Asian section is always worth a look.
http://www.midnighteye.com/. Probably my favourite Japanese cinema site, possibly a little scholarly for the casual fan.
http://www.koreanfilm.org/. This is a must for fans of Korean Cinema.
Why Don’t You Have Screen Captures In Your Reviews?
Mostly because I am too lazy, I do have the technology, just not the inclination. Also because I like the stripped down approach I have taken.
Are You Going To Have Any More “Event” Posts?
I had a total blast doing Ha Ji-won week, and will one day try something in a similar vein. However, life gets in the way of posting enough content in a short amount of time.
I have an idea for something themed around Jun Ji-Hyun, although I think I have covered most of her films already. My reluctance to talk about “My Sassy Girl” is something I need to work around.
I might also try something a little fun on YouTube, and possibly I will try a podcast. But don’t count on it.
If there is anyone out there that would like to try their hand at a guest review, I am open to that also.
What On Earth Was Going On With Your Review Of “Twins Effect 2”?
I was having fun. The movie was a load of nonsense, but if you look closely you will see there is some information in there which is of value. However, it probably was not my finest moment on here, so rest assured, I won’t be doing it again.
I know you should not start sentences with “And”.
I know sometimes spelling mistakes slip in.
I know I can be pretty ignorant about some of the things I write about.
I know I promise lots of things that I never get round to.
I know the reviews can be a little chatty and conversational. That is the point really.
I know I repeat words in sentences.
Oh, and I have no ear for language whatsoever. I know maybe 10 phrases of Korean, 5 of Japanese, 5 of Thai and maybe 3 of Cantonese. However, I don’t really have a problem with this (although it can be somewhat frustrating at times), and I think it should be an example to people who refuse to watch foreign films on language grounds alone.