Chinese Gambit

Let me just describe a situation here in Los Angeles and see what your take of it will be. I’ll keep it public on the WAB board because I think this conversation is of great use to movie-makers interested in deep cinema rather than the Scorsese-Eastwood-Tarantino school of blood and guts.

There is a scene from Cyclo of a kid despondent about seeing his platonic love interest turn to prstitution, where he goes to a disco and half swallows a goldfish while listening to Radiohead’s “I’m a Creep.” I saw this scene on VHS fifteen years ago and it blew me to pieces. Why don’t Americans make this kind of cinema? Then more recently I saw “Last Life in the Universe,” and realized not only was this fantastic story-telling, but that I could make this kind of movie, all alone, with twenty grand. (I am not sure that I can, but I think I can, which is the point.) In between these exposures to Asian or Oriental cinema, I’ve watched hundreds of movies from Taiwan, Japan, India, Malaysia, Korea, the Middle East and, most importantly, from Iran. The Iran-Iraq co-production “Turtles Can Fly” was easily one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen, beyond Truffaut and Cassavettes, and watching it made me want to participate somehow in the future language of cinema, which will be more about Shanghai than San Francisco, in my opinion, if for no other reason than that the audience is so much greater.

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