gorgeously drawn in beautiful black and white, but underwhelming when compared to the original novel. the novel seem dot be much more complicated and nuanced when it came to portraying the ambivalent relationship of a woman whose relationship with her identity as an iranian and as a woman is fraught with difficulty as it switches between embarrassment to fervent patriotism and back again.
made in between the two world wars, the germans in ‘grand illusion’ still maintain their humanity as the jailers in this prison break drama. even as they watch over the collection of prisoners from all classes they allow them wine, dress-up clothes for parties and harmonicas for music. they had not yet been made into the leering blonde cold hearted murderers of the nazi era. in the film, in fact, everyone is honorable and gentlemanly even at the time of death. it is all very idealistic and implausible. the tragic horrors of war are made so remote that people from all classes and nations intermingle in an atmosphere of unrelenting civility where one sacrifices ones life for the freedom of another.
for some reason chinese people need an american counterpart to be able to fight the triads- and the other way around. the only thing it provides the hollywood action film is some swordfights, some antiquated rituals that can be made important plot developments and some slim chinese women who can kick butt. also some neat chinese jokes- as in ‘rush hour 3’- where chris rock and jackie chan try to make funny and fail miserably. the timing is off and the joke is too old by now. ‘rogue assassin’ aims for seriousness with jet li playing the title role and jason Statham the american partner. some silly double crossing plot about gold horses being fought over by the yakuza and the triads where li plays both against one another.
i guess i took the perverts guide too seriously and got more than a little put off by the over serious analysis of cinema by slavov zizek. i seemed as if everything was over-read as something else – like the silent scream in ‘the birds’ as being about the anxiety of the voice, or the toilet flushing blood in ‘the conversation’ as a return of repressed traumas. i guess if you look at it as a playful re-reading of films – it is entertaining and also at times enlightening. the film does that too placing zizek as narrator within the spaces of the films he is referring to. the parts that interested me were those where he talks about ‘form’, but those were too few and far between.
if 5x2 was not told in reverse it would be just another story of a holiday romance that became a marriage and finally ran sour. but because it is told upside down each of the five scenes is supposed to take on profound meanings, but each episode is so predictably plotted and shot that the whole premise seemed banal.