With my Netflix list down to zero, I decided to search for titles I may have missed from directors I admire. The first name I thought of was China’s Zhang Yimou. Some sources reverse the order of his first and last name. I think it sounds better the way I typed it. Anyway, he is so gifted as to be able to do epics and domestic dramas with equal skill, all shot beautifully. Somehow, Shanghai Triad (1995) eluded me. Set in the 1920’s, it’s the story of a 14-year-old country boy sent to work for an uncle who happens to be the city’s top crime boss. The horrors he witnesses in a matter of hours is more than the greater majority of folks see in a lifetime. His job is to attend to the boss’ mistress, an egomaniacal night club singer played with brio by the great Gong Li, who is blessed with the glamour of old Hollywood. At first her attendant hates her. He begins to soften when he learns she too is a “country bumpkin,” as she refers to him. Things comes to a head when an assassination attempt sends the boss and his entourage into hiding. The man’s physical stature is akin to Hyman Roth, not Tony Soprano, but his ruthlessness matches that of history’s most notorious gangsters. The accent is on intrigue, not action, most of the violence occurring off screen. It is not one of Yimou’s best films, but worth seeing. I thought the songs should have been pared a bit. I was unable to find info on whether Li did the vocals or was dubbed. The narrative slows about halfway through the 1:48 running time, but the climax is riveting. 5000+ users at IMDb have rated Shanghai Triad, forging to a consensus of 7.1 on a scale of ten. It grossed only $2+ million worldwide at the box office. I was unable to find its cost of production, but I doubt it was recovered by streaming and DVD sales and rentals, however brisk. Here is the star and Xiaoxiao Wang in his only film appearance, photo from Google Images:
Headline from newsmax.com: “Avian Flu Kills Record 50.5 Million Birds in US.” I don’t know what to make of it, but I’m relieved transmission is not fatal to humans.
Another entry in the everything is racist category, headline from foxnews.com: “CNN article says effects of ‘racism’ is exacerbated by daylight saving time.”
Also from FN, great news out of Indiana: “Indiana police officer and his wife adopt infant girl abandoned in ‘baby box’.” According to the article by Christine Rousselle, edited by yours truly: “A Baby Box is a safety device provided for under the state’s Safe Haven Law and legally permits mothers in crisis to safely, securely and anonymously surrender if they are unable to care for a newborn… they are installed in an exterior wall of a designated fire station or hospital…monitored electronically and temperature controlled…first in Woodburn, Indiana in April 2016…Since then, no abandoned infants in the state of Indiana have died.” Mega kudos.
Not much action at the floating book shop on this gorgeous day. My thanks to the guy who bought a book in Russian, and to the one who took the DVD/CD sale I offered, six items for two bucks. They’d been languishing for months. I was sorry to hear he is battling lymphoma, but glad he’s been told it was caught early enough so that he should be fine.
My Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Vic-Fortezza/e/B002M4NLJE
Read Vic’s Stories, free: http://fictionaut.com/users/vic-fortezza