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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Mostly under the radar - Barrie Pattison draws attention to the Asian movies screening at the George St Event Cinema

There are now nine Asian films running in Sydney’s surviving down town multiplex as against twelve English language movies. I frequently find myself the only gweilo in there - occasionally the only customer but that happens with the English language product too. Any comparison between the returns is a secret guarded as closely as nuclear fission.

Cook Up A Storm
I just saw the Chinese COOK UP A STORM (Raymond Yip, China, 2016), which is totally synthetic despite being the product of their A-list talents, mashing up half a dozen plots including EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN (Ang Lee, Taiwan, 1994). It edged the Star Wars movie out of the schedule.

Despite this quantity, which now approaches the great days of Chinatown cinemas when we saw just about every Hong Kong film, even the diligent overseas viewer will only be able to guess at what Chinese Cinema is all about, with another six hundred movies a year produced and probably never sub-titled.

The King,South Korea, 2017
Now that the Chinese Film Festivals appear to have hit the shredder we don’t even get to glimpse any of the small scale message pieces which were consistently more interesting than the big budgeters.

Intriguingly, the Hong Kong survivors seem to be having a second coming with Jackie Chan, Tsui Hark and Stephen Chow all doing big earning, accomplished product. Among the newcomers only Feng Xiaogang (AFTERSHOCK, I AM NOT MADAM BOVARY) appears to be a comparable talent.

Editor’s Note: You have to search for them but some of these films are reviewed on the Fairfax website. The estimable Jake Wilson in particular tracks them down. You can read his reviews of Journey to the West  and The King if you click on the links.

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