Pompo: The Cinéphile

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Pompo-san” Austin, 2022

My friend and I went to see Pompo: The Cinéphile at the theater as part of our anime-watching habit. Whenever GKIDS has a special screening, he buys the tickets, and I buy the beer (the theater has beer on tap!). It’s something I really look forward to!

Anyways, I thought the movie was excellent. The plot is basically the making of a movie, but there are so many little inspirational nuggets thrown in that I was kind of blown away and even got a little emotional. What a movie! And maybe it was the beer too. But regardless, Pompo: The Cinéphile left me with a positive attitude and life seemed just a bit brighter.

A very nice little gem of a film. Go see it!

Watched Garden State

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO1600
“Watching Garden State” Cedar Park, 2022

While browsing Amazon Prime Movies, Garden State popped up in the recommendations. I have kind of known about this 2004 movie for a long time and have been mildly interested but not enough to actually watch it but since i had a couple of hours, today was the day!

Although I enjoyed Garden State, I think it is more suited to a younger version of myself. I think I would have been really into if I saw it when it first came out, but now it felt a little naive and lacking. Still, I am happy I watched it.

One thing I am happy about is that while reading the movie’s Wikipedia page, I learned about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope. I think that bit of info was worth watching the movie for. 😀

I Finally Watched La Dolce Vita

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/4, 1/15 sec, ISO320
“La Dolce Vita” Cedar Park, 2022

This afternoon, I watched Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”. What an odd movie! Watching the 1960 film in 2022 added another disorienting dimension for me and I couldn’t tell which parts were truly indicative of the times, and which were more fantastical versions. I suppose that added to the charm and mystery.

My favorite part of the film was when Marcello’s father came to visit. He seemed like the character who was most grounded in real life, which is probably why I enjoyed his scenes.

Overall, I am happy I watched to have finally watched this cinematic masterpiece, but I felt like I was watching from a great distance, both culturally and artistically.

Legends of the Condor Heroes

Jiang Yun Xing /Quercus Books

I’ve been enjoying the classic series Legends of the Condor Heroes by Jin Yong so much. I just started book four, A Heart Divided, which is the final book of the translated series. The story is so much fun!

The story is Wuxia, or ancient martial-arts heroes genre. Do you know the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? That is a good example of Wuxia.

When I started the first book, A Hero Born, I was a bit overwhelmed by the list of characters at the beginning. What was I getting myself into? But soon, I was caught up in the story, and the character list came in handy to refresh my memory.

I was very curious as to how they could describe the fast-paced action of the wuxia movies, but Jin Yong (and the book translators) do an amazing job of imaginatively describing and naming the different moves and it’s incredibly fun to follow along. I love the heroes, and love to hate the villains. My favorite character is Cyclone Mei, who is featured in the illustration above. She’s one of the villains, but… it’s complicated! 😀

I read the popular She Who Became the Sun by Shelly Parker-Chan, but didn’t enjoy the story or characters at all. The Legends of the Condor Heroes is way more my type of book.

There’s a Chinese television series from 2017 that I will watch after I finish the books. Besides spoilers, I don’t want my imagined versions of the characters to be influenced by the actors in the drama. I prefer to look to the illustrations (which are sparse) from the book.

For more info, you can read this article from Alan Yu at NPR about Jin Yong and his amazing series.

Okay, back to A Heart Divided!

White Snake 白蛇:缘起 and Green Snake 青蛇

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO800
“White Snake” Cedar Park, 2022

This evening I watched the Chinese animated films White Snake 白蛇:缘起 and Green Snake 青蛇 back-to-back. I thought the animation in both was great, but enjoyed White Snake much more than the sequel.

The setting of White Snake’s ancient China was more appealing to me than that of Green Snake’s dystopian mish-mash city. White Snake was filled with stunningly beautiful scenes, whereas Green Snake was filled with non-stop action, which was hard to take for two hours.

I believe there will be a third movie in the series, but it looks like it’s going to jump a thousand years into the future… oh well.

As far as the plot of both movies, they were nothing special. I think the main draw for me is the beauty of the animation (where the first film really shined). But I am still hoping for a more interesting plot to tie up the series.