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Blessed month for movie lovers

By Raymond Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2012-11-30 10:19

Blessed month for movie lovers

[The poster of Ang Lee's latest movie, Life of Pi/Photo provided to China Daily]

'Tis the season for the nation's film-loving public to give thanks. Never has a month featured such a strong lineup of good movies as this November. It is a wonder that popcorn trash such as 2012 with an extra dimension could still attract a sizeable audience.

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However, discerning moviegoers are having a hard time choosing from five feature films. A Separation, from Iran but loaded with international awards, belatedly landed in Chinese cinemas. Of the lessons it imparted, two are extremely memorable: A limited budget is no excuse for not making a good movie, and ditto for censorship.

Feng Shui has been hailed by some as China's answer to A Separation. With the dubious reputation of boycotting the Tokyo International Film Festival, this art-house flick has its focus on a disintegrating family. It also gives you a glimpse of the changing times. What it lacks is the kind of depth that made A Separation an instant classic. I came out of the theater feeling bad for the family, but would not associate it with the whole nation.

Ang Lee's Life of Pi looked like it was going to be crushed by the 3-D version of 2012 - until word of mouth saved it and turned it into a cultural event. People are endlessly debating the truth of what they saw on the screen, and those who have not seen it have to suffer the spoilers thrown at them like a hurricane of arrows, or more accurately, the flying fish in the movie.

The wow factor of the middle section on the high seas has given me pause about the pros and cons of 3-D as an evolving technology. In a sense, Life of Pi convinced me that 3-D does not need to be in your face or icing on the cake. In the hands of a true master, it can be an essential part of the drama, just like music or acting. Now, I'm seriously thinking what great movies could have benefited from 3-D, and my number one choice is Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey. What an experience that would be! Someone please contact the Kubrick estate.

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