Heroes of the East

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Heroes of the East

Film discussion and banter

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    AV Club's Secret Cinema: GOD OF GAMBLERS

    Brian T
    Brian T

    Posts : 319
    Join date : 2011-02-16

    AV Club's Secret Cinema: GOD OF GAMBLERS Empty AV Club's Secret Cinema: GOD OF GAMBLERS

    Post  Brian T Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:54 pm

    The AV Club's typically excellent series examining "compelling little-noticed, overlooked, or faded-from-memory movies from years past" recently took a look at Wong Jing's GOD OF GAMBLERS:


    There's some great stuff in there -- with nods to David Bordwell, who frequented the video store where the writer worked back in the day -- as well as several acknowledgements of what makes Hong Kong cinema so utterly unique and addictive:
    It is, in other words, a fine example of what film scholar David Bordwell calls the “kaleidoscopic variety” of the rich, often strange, and just as often rewarding world of popular Hong Kong cinema, which reached a frenzied peak, in both volume and creativity, during the boom years of the ’80s and early ’90s, when the industry turned out film after film—of all sorts, and of all sorts mingled together.
    The film mixes lowbrow humor and syrupy sentiment, but it’s a weirdly successful mix, thanks in part to Chow and Lau’s performances—both have the easy charisma of born stars—and in part to the way God Of Gamblers, and Hong Kong cinema in general, conditions viewers to accept wild changes in tone and focus.
    But Hollywood could never imitate Hong Kong’s anything-can-happen spirit.
    I particularly liked these two, which nicely reflect how I still feel when I watch new Hong Kong movies even today:
    That unpredictable spirit drew viewers to Hong Kong films when they first began to drift into video stores and midnight screenings in the ’90s. They looked and felt like the products of an alternate-universe Hollywood, with a lot of familiar elements—cops and criminals, action stars, ghosts, vampires—used in unfamiliar ways and sent careening in unpredictable directions.
    . . . part of the initial pleasure of watching a Hong Kong film comes from that unpredictability. It’s the pleasure of getting lost.
    Very Happy

    Posts : 401
    Join date : 2011-02-16
    Location : Modesto, CA

    AV Club's Secret Cinema: GOD OF GAMBLERS Empty Re: AV Club's Secret Cinema: GOD OF GAMBLERS

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:04 am

    "For a time the highest-grossing film in Hong Kong history, God Of Gamblers..."

    Technically I don't think this is true, The Eighth Happiness made more (slightly).

    37,090,776 The Eighth Happiness (1988) CC
    37,058,686 God of Gamblers (1989) Win

    Interesting article, I'll have more to say on it later.

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