Movie Diary 2/14/2012

Flowers of Shanghai (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1998). Answering the musical question: Hou stole my heart away? Another look at the best film of 1998, and a hope that maybe a better DVD might appear at some point. I’d forgotten how hypnotic the musical score is, the aural equivalent of all that opium we see smoked.

That Day, at the Beach (Edward Yang, 1983). Early feature from the director of Yi Yi, this one a melodrama refracted through a twisty flashback structure and an Antonioniesque refusal to answer the question raised at its center. Right now it’s only around on this muddy VHS copy, unfortunately.

Decoy (Jack Bernhard, 1946). A pretty high WTF!? quotient on this weird noir, which has some genuinely impressive directorial grace notes, Sheldon Leonard at his best, and a cackling femme fatale in Jean Gillie.

At What a Feeling!, an Eighties view of Robert Benton’s Places in the Heart, which brought Oscars to Benton’s screenplay and Sally Field – her “You like me” moment.


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