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Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Five Golden Flowers -vvz

I recently dug up and watched an old movie I last saw when I was a toddler. The film is called Five Golden Flowers (五朵金花). Filmed in 1959, it won some awards and was screened in more than 30 countries. The film can be loosely classified as a musical romantic comedy. Even though it was made half a century ago, I think it's better than many movies produced these days.

The plot is simple. The protagonist (Ah Peng, which is the generic name for males of the Bai minorities) meets a girl (called Jinhua, literally golden flower, the generic name for females of the Bai tribe) at a festival. They agree to meet a year later but Jinhua gave only vague directions to where she lives (supposedly to test his resolve in finding her). Ah Peng proceeded to travel the region to look for Jinhua, only to come across many false alarms as there are hundreds of girls with that name. Since it's a happy feel-good movie, the lovers were, of course, reunited at the end.

Set in the period of China's failed Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) movement, the film contains not too subtle displays of optimism with industrialization, communism and all that stuff. People still call each other comrades in those days. As such, this film also provides an interesting glimpse into the political climate of those days, especially with respect to the minority ethnic groups in Yunnan.

Sadly, the lead actress Yang Likun (杨丽坤) led a tragic life, quite unlike that of the character she portrayed. Her other famous movie Ashima was blacklisted during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and the actress was condemned with the film. Only in her twenties then, She was tortured and subsequently became schizophrenic. Her condition improved slightly after the Cultural Revolution. She eventually moved to Shanghai and died in 2000.

Here's the famous duet scene at Butterfly Spring in Dali (lyrics on the YouTube page). The place is now a tourist attraction.

-- permalink --
Yiheng made
12:53 AM


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Sunday, July 12, 2009
Art Appreciation in Singapore -vvw

I made a long overdue visit to the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) last Sunday to see An Unbroken Line, a showcase of the works by internationally acclaimed artist Wu Guanzhong, which he generously donated to Singapore. Wu Guanzhong is one of the few painters whose works I like and who isn't already dead.

Most of my friends have never heard of Wu Guanzhong before but that doesn't really matter to me because these days, anyone who is a media whore, has rich friends or a talent for bullshitting can be a famous artist.

Heck, the Painting of the Year 2009 award went to some photographs of random objects. Apparently, one does not even need to paint any more to produce an award-winning "painting". So what's next year's Painting of the Year? I won't be surprised if it turns out to be a sculpture, a dance or even a rap album!

But what DID surprise me was the crowd I encountered when I entered the SAM. Since when did Singaporeans learn to appreciate art? Most of these people don't look like tourists. But when I arrived at the Wu Guanzhong galleries, the place was oddly empty. So where did everybody go?

To the Toy Fair that happened to be held at the SAM of course! To buy the latest Transformers toys and stuff like that. And to see people dressed up as Stormtroopers and Masked Rider.

Ah well, that's Singapore, I should've known.

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Yiheng made
10:03 AM


Painting of the year is such a rip-off. But then again I guess art is subjective.
By Blogger Soqcrates, at 12:43 AM  

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Previous Posts

Swing Along 2009 -vvv

FF13 -vvx

YGBSM -vvw

Tibetan Song -vvx

Unfortunate Side Effects -vwv

Memorable News -vwv

Five Golden Flowers -vvz

Art Appreciation in Singapore -vvw

Openmindedness -vvx


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