Sept 17 Last night got out to the festival and saw Darryl's film. I look
forward to seeing it in class and talking about it. I felt very disturbed by
the laughter by the audience AT the subjects of the two films. At least in the
first one (on folk artists) the subjects recognise that they are selling their
personas along with their art so would be prepared to be laughed at. The
collectors on the other hand did not invite public scrutiny into their lives. I
wonder what Darryl thinks about this.
saw Ang Lee's "Eat Drink Man Woman", at a regular theatre but it was
a festival film 6 days ago so I guess it will count for me seeing a festival
film. I typed up some notes about it; feeling nervous about what to say about
films in front of classmates. I don't know if I could defend my opinions
against some of them. Here is what I was struck by in the film:
- Technically speaking, this film is very simple. Conversations between
pairs of characters are commonly covered in long (up to 2 or 3 minutes)
unbroken, static shots. The camera rarely moves. One of the rare moving shots,
a hand held shot quickly moving through a gigantic kitchen, appeared to me to
be just that, hand held (no dolly and probably no steady cam) through a real
kitchen (floors, ceilings, stoves, and 100 people working).
- The process sequences showing how the food is prepared give the film
the most 'flavour'. I remember that a common first year production exercise was
to show "how something is done". Through a series of simple shots a
complex procedure can be clearly depicted. In the film, lavish gourmet chinese
cooking unfolds theatrically, As we the audience watch the chopping and frying
and ladling, we feel drawn in. The simplicity of the film techniques lend to
the apparent simplicity of the cooking process, it brings us in close; allowing
us to understand as if we were there. As a result, the food seems very real and
- It is during the conversations and the cooking that we feel closest to
the film. Some other scenes (ie: the teacher with her students and the growing
relationship with the volleyball coach) are covered in a more common way with
more intercutting and thus do not seem as intimate as the aforementioned
- The intimate nature of the film leads us to believe in the characters
and to care about their dilemmas.
Post script: Darryl is Darryl Varga and his film was Hunters and Collectors. The "festival" was the Toronto Film Festival.