The Assassin. Not going to pretend that I understood the plot in its finest details, but it’s pretty great. We have a heroine who’s had her life planned for her, and now she is wrestling with a choice. Love how the soundtrack often sticks to almost silence, except for a slow drum strike every few seconds. There’s one long scene that’s we watch – just barely, sometimes – through these gauzy curtains that drift back and forth as the camera pans from A to B and back. It’s one of those moments that gets me fired up about what you can do with movies with a little patience. Rare to see something so reflective yet so lively.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I didn’t know anything about wuxia when this came out; fun to remember my first moments seeing the wirework and acrobatics, I could feel the neurons lighting up and stretching out. There are movies that, although perhaps not Great Films, you remember because they open up a new world for you. Respect for an interesting balance here. It gave some philosophical weight to ass-kicking, and gave some visual fireworks to solemn melodrama. And what melodrama it is, so drawn out. Our two heroes’ relationship is traced in three conversations spaced out over two hours, and doesn’t culminate until the last breaths. Even the fighting deaths are delayed. And the flashback? Dang, a full half-hour? I still think Jen is an asshole.