Thursday, March 31, 2011

Notes from The West Island

  •  March 21st three hour master class with Jia Zhang-ke, hosted by the Jockey Club's Cine Academy?! This one killed me. What the hell was the Jockey Club's Cine Academy, how did I miss this, I thought while reading David Bordwell's blog posts on the HKIFF launch. (I've only attended The Strange Case of Angelica so far.) Started in 2010 to "provide young people with a better understanding of film production and enhance their ability to analyse and appreciate film-making techniques." Over. Like tears. in. the. rain.
  • Kenzanburo Oe at the HK Literary Festival. He didn't end up winning the Man Asian Literary Award, but he'd been one of my idols since I stumbled into Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids at the St. Louis County Library as a freshman in high school. Therefore I both coveted and loathed the chance to meet him. Anyways, I self sabotaged on this one, delaying until the day before the panel to buy tickets despite planning to go since his nomination was announced. My face was wrenched in both relief and pain when Razor Lim of Parson's Music told me that the tickets were all long gone. I thought about the fact that I had sabotaged this while scalping tickets to a Super Junior M concert from a 17 year old the very next week. I did not feel comfortable at the thought. 
  • Giant neon phonograph in the Kowloon Walled City Park for the Arts Festival,  and a titillating staging of The Golden Lotus. The titillating 3-D release in two weeks adapting The Carnal Prayer Mat should make up for the latter, at least. 
  • The 200-something person protest in Central over Donald Tsang's ill thought out scheme to curb inflation by.... putting 6000 HKD into people's retirement funds?! And then the subsequent macing of those "protesters." Pansy riot. Pansy draconian response. [Background here.]  High expectations Asian Father via The Dark Side.
  • Someone noted glumly on a taxi ride from Stubbs Rd. that income inequality in Hong Kong was appallingly surprising. Fact:  A monthly salary of 50,000 HKD per month puts you in the top 10% of households. That's about 77K . In the US that comparatively just puts you in the top 25% or so. Hong Kong's full time employees make below 15K HKD per month (excluding all domestic workers) - that's a bit shy of 24,000 USD. Even correcting for purchasing power parity issues, pretty bad. But don't take my word for it! As of 2009 Hong Kong had the highest GINI coefficient in the world.
  • China technically should be lifting its quota on foreign films. I'm hopefully revising a paper on the political economy of Chinese film production (eh) soon but more thoughts on this later. A good article in the Guardian on the topic here.
  • Above, a postcard from 1910 that depicts the world in 2000, as imagined by in a series of French postcards. An electric train would have linked Paris and Beijing. More paleofutures (past imaginings of the future) here.
  • And below, snippets from Ming Wong's "Devo partire. Domani / I must go. Tomorrow," where he plays all characters from Pasolini's Teorema (1968). A snatch from the Singapore Biennale that condenses how I feel lately, frame for frame.

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