Yellow Earth (1984) — January 13, 2019
Legend of the Mountain, but the evil ghost is feudalism and the magic sutra is Maoism.
Probably most remarkable for the fact that it exists in the first place, but still pretty good on its own merits. Certainly it’s one of the five best musicals of 1984.
Star Wang Xueqi is apparently in Iron Man 3, which probably says something important about the history of China and Chinese cinema over the past 30 years.
Farewell, My Concubine (1993) — January 15, 2019
A story of abused children growing up to be oblivious if not downright stupid adults lost in a world they have no hope of understanding. As decorous and nonsensical as any Hollywood historical epic, which is I guess a kind of triumph.
Imagine how unwatchable this would be without brilliant actors like Gong Li, Ge You, Zhang Fengyi, and Leslie Cheung chewing up the frame and giving it some sense of moral and emotional clarity.