For the first time as a mother, I’ve had eight days of 5-hour stretches completely to myself. Two of my kids were in all-day day camp and the other was either volunteering at sleepover camp or on a college tour a time zone away.
So what did I do with all this free time? If you’ve been to my home, you know it wasn’t housework. I watched movies! And they weren’t new movies or ones I hadn’t seen before. I watched a bunch of old favorites I hadn’t seen in a while.
I started with The World of Suzie Wong, the ultimate 1960s Hong Kong film. The footage is breathtaking and shows a Hong Kong long gone. I’ve blogged about the film before and love the novel even better than the movie. It’s like Pretty Woman of 1960s Hong Kong.
Wang Kar-wai is one of my favorite directors, so I watched 2046, a beautiful movie set in mid-1960s Hong Kong. It’s the sequel to In the Mood for Love, which I’ve blogged about before and have seen more recently. I own this DVD, but hadn’t watched it in a while. Tony Leung Chiu-wai is a former newspaper journalist who has fallen on hard times and cannot commit to the women who love him. After losing Maggie Cheung in In the Mood for Love, can you blame him?
I also watched Days of Being Wild, which is the prequel to In the Mood for Love and streaming now on Netflix. This one takes place in the early 60s and features Leslie Cheung at his best (in my opinion, but others may love him better in other films). Carina Lau is darling as Lulu or Mimi (depending on who asks) and part of a love triangle with Leslie Cheung and Maggie Cheung. Again, the 1960s scenery is priceless.
Wong Kar-wai’s As Tears Go By came out in 1988, a couple years before Days of Being Wild. It’s also streaming on Netflix and is not in the above-mentioned trilogy, but also features Maggie Cheung as a sweet girl who falls in love with her triad cousin, Andy Lau. Jackie Cheung is great as Lau’s “little brother.” A classic Hong Kong gangster film. (I love the stark Hong Kong movie ads like this one below.)
I also watched John Woo’s The Killer, which I hadn’t seen in probably 20 years (and that wasn’t even the first time I’d watched it). The movie is from 1989 and stars Chow Yun-fat, Sally Yeh, and Danny Lee. But holy hotness alert–Chu Kong totally stole the show as triad elder Sidney Fung. The movie is extremely violent, but has a good message and ends like a Greek tragedy. John Woo at his most brilliant.
The movie I watched that had nothing to do with Hong Kong but everything to do with Asia in the 1960s was The Year of Living Dangerously. I saw this movie a ton of times when it came out on cable in 1982 or 1983, but haven’t seen it since I blogged about it five years ago. Mel Gibson was fabulous as Australian journalist Guy Hamilton, who gets caught up in the 1965 Indonesian political upheaval.
The kids are finished with camp and for the rest of the summer will have activities like swimming, where I have to accompany them. Once school goes back into session, I will have free days again and more time to watch movies.