I’m 68 and I’m running out of time. I started reading martial arts novels when I was in elementary school, the fifth grade, but it wasn’t until my first year of college that I began reading these short stories from the Tang Dynasty, written by people from the Tang Dynasty and published at that time. I found them quite fascinating. The short story “Nie Yinniang,” especially, stuck in my head. I kept thinking that at some point I would like to make a film based on “Nie Yinniang.” As you know, I haven’t made a film in a while because I was serving as the president of the Taipei Film Festival as well as the Golden Horse Awards. That took five years of my life. I’m not getting any younger and realized that now would be the time to make this movie.
— Kim Morgan’s gorgeous piece on Angelina Jolie’s By the Sea, which is being panned left and right, totally unfairly (I, for one, cannot get it out of my head.) Kim digs deep into the film. Don’t miss it.
— Extraordinary article by Adrian Chen in The New Yorker about how a young woman broke out of a family cult (the Westboro Baptist Church). It’s a long article. To be read in full. It made me tear up. Her “conversion” came through interactions on Twitter which made other people seem real and not evil, plus a moment having to do with the death of Brittany Murphy, which should shut people up forever who sneer at those who grieve celebrity deaths. Her emotion about that event is what helped her realize her mind was her own. Incredible article.
— My friend Odie Henderson’s review of Creed. The movie made me cry (maybe 7 or 8 times, so basically I cried all the way through), Odie’s review made me cry, so basically I’ve been making a spectacle of myself all over town. The accolades, though, are well-deserved. One of the best films of 2015. And you know I’m honing down my list now.
— My pal Miriam Bale interviewed director Todd Haynes about the cinematic influences for the gorgeous Carol out in theaters now. (I I loved the film.) I love how Miram and Haynes discuss the “artifice”, and how it used to BE cinema, and how it is also “natural” in that context. (Speaking of which, that is what critics panning By the Sea don’t seem to get.)
— Just starting Peter Guralnick’s Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll. I’m so looking forward to it I’m almost NERVOUS about it.