Friday, August 08, 2008

Today's your lucky day

Get married (done). Have a baby (working on it). Watch the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics (will do). It's the most auspicious of days, more or less.

Reports filtering in from China suggest that Zhang Yimou hit one out of "bird's nest" park with his direction of the ceremonies, an event years in the making. I still remember the somewhat subversive thrill I got sitting in pre-handover Hong Kong watching his great films Judou and the exquisite Raise the Red Lantern, which the Chinese government frowned upon. (And it was fun to see him and former muse Gong Li co-starring in the HK action comedy A Terracotta Warrior, a more amusing fish-out-of-water effort than the sloppy Mummy blockbuster now in release here.) The Times considers whether Zhang has sold out or bought in with his boosterism. I'm not sure he has, entirely: While Hero (2002), which among other things demonstrates what CGI can be in the hands of a true artist, was criticized for its might-makes-right philosophy, 2006's exhausted Curse of the Golden Flower shows a regime on the ropes, presiding over massacres that are swept away the next day. After this spectacular phase in his career I'd prefer he'd get back to real people, but to stay in China and work metaphor may be his preferred means of expression. Will the Opening Ceremonies have something to say to us?

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