Category Archives: Movies

love language


An aspect of 2046 that’s always confounded and fascinated me is how Tony Leung spoke Cantonese while Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi spoke Mandarin. Or really just scenes where two parties in a conversation are speaking to each other in essentially different languages. I have always always wondered why or what the point of it is, because I’m sure it’s not just that that’s what the actors’ native dialects are (I am almost certain Tony Leung can manage the few lines of Mandarin his role would’ve required, however feeble the attempt might have been).

I never looked this up, of course, because, actually it never occurred to me that I could do that until just now when I thought about writing this post.

So, but, anyway, yesterday was a friend’s birthday and a guy from our section posted on her wall in Hebrew (birthday girl is Chinese, I assume he said something like happy birthday), and she replied thank you in Chinese. This made me think of this schema of communication which sounds so disjointed. Then it occurs to me that this may not even come up for a non-Chinese speaker, though, the dialects truly are so distinct that I think it should be fairly apparent to anyone watching Wong Kar Wai (assuming you’re not just a fetishist).

But so what if it’s not an issue for anyone else? What if people could really communicate like that? There is no language barriers, everyone just understands every nuance of every other language.

Although, the neutralizing effect of removing language barriers would probably also just remove these nuances. There would also be no native language, which I can’t even imagine. Man, is that how monolingual Americans feel? Native language and only language; ride or die.

So then, why 2046?

femme fatale

“For all her lying, the femme fatale was a truth-teller, a bad woman whose real crime was to introduce a man to his own innate badness.”

Loved this. Need to watch every movie on that list, obviously. If you’re a woman who doth protest this, you don’t deserve to be a woman.

If you’re scared…just say you’re scared.

“I read your column every Sunday when it comes out. I can’t wait for your book to come out” – Brown Sugar aka most quotable movie ever made. After Clueless.

BASICALLY, my faggotry in a nutshell. Yes. Defining.

conversatin’

The New Yorker March 16, 2009

Gilroy interrupted. He reminded the actors that they were no longer facing off. “There should be no hostility,” Gilroy explained to me. They had suffered a reversal, and the effect, for now at least, was to bring them closer together. A second take: Roberts and Owen leaned toward each other as they spoke. They took each other’s hands.

CLAIRE: I can’t breathe.RAY: You’ll be O.K. CLAIRE: When? RAY: After we wake up in Rome. CLAIRE: We might have to wake up in Rome for a long time. . . . RAY: That sounds like a plan.

“Cut,” Gilroy said. He still didn’t like it. The actors tried the scene different ways. Gilroy changed Ray’s line to “Sounds like a plan.”

After each take, the camera, the lighting, and the sound had to be fixed. The hours dragged on. At midnight, the crew broke for a meal, and Gilroy joined them. He gets along well with technical crews. A grip distributed homemade mozzarella as Gilroy mulled. “We don’t want to tee the ball up,” he said.

Upon returning to the ballroom, Gilroy offered a variant line. The actors tried it: CLAIRE: We might have to wake up in Rome for a long time. RAY: Plan on it.

The line still felt too much like a zinger. Owen looked like he’d rather be saying something else; Roberts looked like she’d rather hear something else. The techies looked pained. Gilroy quietly gave the actors notes. “Action,” he said.

CLAIRE: I can’t breathe. RAY: You’ll be O.K. CLAIRE: When? RAY: After we wake up in Rome. CLAIRE: We might have to wake up in Rome for a long time. RAY: That’s the plan.

The flatness of the line worked against Owen’s British accent, eliminating the whiff of effortful wit. The more serious tone suggested that running a “triple game” had been difficult for Ray; it humanized him. He was no longer just a man with a good suit and an easy smile. The actors had given the scene a useful tentativeness: the sexual bond between Ray and Claire was clear, but now something deeper was at stake. At the same time, the underlined intimacy of the scene—the silence around the dialogue, the sustained shot—would make the viewer suspicious. Hadn’t we fallen for this sort of thing many times before? Was a new trick coming? This was a movie about acting, after all. The camera slowly pulled back, all the way out of the room, teasing the audience. “Cut. Star it!” Gilroy said. ♦

Man, dialogues