How to pass a 14 hour plane flight

Watch two stunning movies and spend the rest of the time thinking about them.

On this latest hop over to China — Shanghai, baby! — I took in two of the best movies I’ve seen this year. First was Hero, a Chinese martial arts movie set in pre-unified China. To call it a movie is maybe to overstate the fact that it was distributed on celluloid (or plastic disc). This is a “picture” in the truest sense. The scenes are so visually stunning I would just pause the action and stare. Like walking through a gallery of vivid stop-action animation, but it is all moving of course — and fast. The choreography puts Crouching Tiger to shame and that’s not easy to do.

Then after a too-brief nap in went Saw, a twisted recommendation from my brother. Not scary in the Ring/Grudge way, but ohmygod was it warped. Basic premise: two unlucky strangers wake up in a putrid bathroom, chained to the piping, and told they will die in 6 hours unless one guy kills the other. Depravity ensues. Since I was in the center seat I was constantly looking to my seatmates to make sure they were still sleeping. Some of the scenes in this movie, even seen peripherally, could probably be considered un-neighborly in a crowded airplane. (It was my DVD, not on the plane’s rotation.) Precisely the opposite — but no less enjoyable — than the rich tableaux of Hero.

2 Responses to “How to pass a 14 hour plane flight”

  1. GC says :

    Hero is great. You should check out the special features on the DVD for some interesting commentary by the director.
    You should also check out House of Flying Daggers. It uses many of the same tchniques as Hero, but not quite as effectively.

  2. dai ruhyi says :

    I prefer to read all the newspapers I save when I’m travelling and don’t have time to read them…great catch up on the news (but I know, YOU like to get your news online!!)
    Great blog. I’m in Xian and its AWESOME (ie the warriors, and the fabulous museum the govt. has built around them, AND I met the farmer who dug them up in the first place!!)