Category Archives: movie

china in 1972 captured by Michelangelo Antonioni

i dedicated a weekend to think about story telling in preparation for a talk at the end of august in stockholm (in replacement of my esteemed colleague who was on his exploration trip). it turned out to be a good excuse for me to watch a few documentaries i had lined up for viewing.

shanghai residential alleyway

one of them is ‘chung-kuo’ by michelangelo antonioni. it’s 207 min long, narrated by the director himself. there is something about chinese workers that melt my heart though i cannot pinpoint why. the narration is very light, not too political nor academically boring. instead it is full of visuals of people’s everyday lives that he was allowed to peek into. my favorite parts so far were when the director documents and talks about people’s view on the filming crew and their behaviors facing the camera, and when he says “it is hard to accept that chinese invented eveything, including fettuccini”.

because of its length and the lack of dramatic structure, you may find it hard to finish. but if you got the patience and the curiosity, it’s a wonderful film to watch and find glimpses of how china changed over three decades – as you probably saw a lot of images from beijing olympics last month.

art gallery security guard's office

both photos were taken in shanghai, china, 2008.

soylent green (1973)

happen to watch a movie soylent green (1973). its based on harry harrison’s novel. an interesting & grim depiction of the future urban living, but quite accurately pointing out many of the problems that are becoming increasingly substantial – overpopulation, food shortage, and environmental devastation. stop reading my post here if you plan to watch the movie yourself as it is a spoiler.

soylent green poster - from amazon

a couple of intriguing concepts were:

– a woman offered as ‘furniture’ with every house / flat: it is obviously an idea you’d call sexist’s, but nevertheless i fully enjoyed the social ripple effect that this proposition triggered me to imagine – like longevity of a property and a human? inheritance?

– imaginary home service: it is a place where people can go to when they want to die. for the final ceremony (of the death), the person gets to choose the ambient lighting color and music. the space design and other people’s involvement leaves a very interesting design challenge – though the movie’s focus shifts to a spam factory from here on.