Today I went to the cinema to see Tuya’s Marriage (图雅的婚事), the film that won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. The film is set in Inner Mongolia and revolves around the willful and witty Tuya. Since the spoken language is not so standard Mandarin and I watched this with only Chinese subtitles I might not be clear on all the details, but the story goes something like this: Tuya’s husband Bater is bound to a wheelchair and can’t help with the family’s sheep or do any other useful work. Out of pity for his wife, Bater wants to divorce so that Tuya can find a man who can better care for her and the two children. However, Tuya cares very much about Bater and will only accept a proposal if the the new husband also agrees to care for him. There are several proposals and the developments that follow put quite an emotional pressure on both Tuya and Bater.
Looking at the poster, I expected this film to be a serious act shot in gray and brown colors. To my surprise the dialogue is often witty, especially on the part of Tuya. The characters and their words still linger in my mind after leaving the cinema, which is certainly not true of all films. The cinematography isn’t bad either, making the dull plains of Inner Mongolia more interesting than they probably are. If Tuya’s Marriage comes to your country (in the cinemas or on DVD) don’t miss it!
My rating: 4 out of 5 sheep
What a few Chinese bloggers are saying:
Tuya should love Bater, but if she really does why does she divorce him? […] This kind of sacrifice doesn’t seem to have any meaning.
Tuya’s Marriage […] has none of the tiring sour narcissistic quality of some of the sixth generation director’s so called art films.
Wang Quanan displays his outstanding control over the medium. He can make the audience cry, for example when…
I just saw on CCTV 9’s Culture Express that Jackie Chan (成龙) is launching a TV show to search for his successor. This is very good news as Jackie Chan was at his peak in the 70’s with Drunken Master (醉拳) and hasn’t been quite so agile lately. The Disciple (“龙”的传人), as the show is called, will be aired on a local Beijing TV channel. If you are of Chinese origin and feel the calling, why not sign up? The top 10 contenders will appear in a movie produced by Jackie Chan, to premier before the 2008 Olympics.
Chan has actually already realized that his real successor is Tony Jaa of Ong-Bak fame. Jaa was offered a part in Rush Hour 3, but he was busy and declined.
Homework for everyone’s entertainment.
I have just finshed watching the 1982 Turkish movie The Man Who Saves The World (a.k.a Turkish Star Wars) and I am appalled. This movie is so bad that it has an international cult following. I now understand why.
An evil wizard wants to conquer the earth and two courageous Turks try to stop him. A big wooden sword and a brain in a box are key elements in the magnificent plot. The space battles are made by using footage from Star Wars, but it is stretched (anamorphic) so that the death star looks like an egg instead of a moon. Most of the action sequences are set to the music of Indiana Jones and the monsters are made of toilet paper or red plush. Also, there’s a short lecture on Islam thrown into the middle of it all!
The whole movie with English subtitles is available on Google Video. Beware, watching this movie is painful!