The drawing above is not a depiction of the highly adored, cuddle-tastic film character Falcor from The NeverEnding Story. It is a surrealist portrait of my dog Simba as a black dragon - whose celebrity doppelganger happens to be Falcor from The Neverending Story.
Here is a gratuitous, thoooo cute, adorabuhbuh picture of Simba for those who take emotional comfort in puppy porn.
Awwwww. Anyway. Happy New Year. My Chinese New Year is off to a good start. The other day I visited Singafest Asian Film Festival's website. I wasn't been able to attend the festival in October because I was in Korea getting married, so I wanted to print out a program as a souvenir. Look what I found:
I have to say, getting an award behind my back and finding out about it two months after is by far my favorite way of getting an award.
I thought the previous year, the Year of the Rabbit, was going to be a journey I shared with Leonore. I spent nearly two years making the film, and I was looking forward to accompanying it to screenings and conversations it generated.
But last year came to be more about Leonore and me going our separate ways. In April, I completed post-production and went to Korea to do preliminary wedding planning. I hardly had time to think about Leonore once I was there. Leonore stuck around and got into its first film festival, LA Shorts Fest. I returned and attended LASF with Leonore but had to leave again in October to get married as Leonore remained to play at two more festivals.
At the end of October, I returned to the States a happily married man.
A week after my return, I went to Leonore's last screening of 2011 - Reel the World, a USC thesis film showcase. I'm not usually inclined to unadulterated expressions of joy, but damn, I had one of the best times of my life that night. The excitement of the night at Norris Theater was invigorating, but that night also had a serene, sobering effect on me.
It was like reuniting with an old girlfriend, recognizing the wonderfully fucked up shit we've been through, and congratulating each other for having moved on.
Letting go and moving on. It was a very satisfying feeling.
So I continue to promote Leonore on the latter half of its festival run, but I also move on to married life, writing new scripts, and shooting more movies.
Also, not irrelevant to today's theme-but-not-really-a-theme of the Year of the Black Dragon but completely irrelevant to what I've been talking about, I saw David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last week.
Never read the book. Saw the Swedish film. Didn't really want to see the American film. Wife wanted to see it. Pretended I'd rather see The Artist playing at the same time at the Laemmle but realized that I was just acting like a film snob when my wife's never impressed anyway and that I actually did want to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Thoroughly enjoyed the film. As did wife. But something did bother me.
I hate using the word 'impeccable' because it is overused by writers with limited vocabulary who use the word to insist they know sophisticated words, and I hate people who preface things with a disclaimer that they actually hate something when they're going to do it anyway, but the film was in fact, yes, impeccably crafted.
Performances delicately balanced without forcing the audience to understand the 'depth' of characters, cinematography used perfectly to divulge information driving the plot while making everything pristinely beautiful, music creeping the shit out of you by being the precise blend of score and sound design. The movie might have been too eager to fit in as much plot as possible, but I'm willing to attribute that to the director wanting to be faithful to the original literature.
If one never knew the existence of the Swedish movie, one would never doubt that Fincher's film is one bad-ass cinematic interpretation of the book.
But the Swedish movie does exist.
As awesome as the craftsmanship was, I did not see anything much newer than the Swedish film. I could still attribute that to the director's faithfulness to source material, but since no two people who read the same book will react with the exact same emotions, I still wanted to see something that I could only see through David Fincher's eyes. But most of the time, I was seeing something through an extremely talented, intelligent, sophisticated person's eyes, which could have been but didn't necessarily have to be David Fincher's.
And so The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo US Version was slightly problematic for me because it wasn't directed by some journeyman director who was hired to do a slick English-translated version for a studio. It was directed by David Fincher, whose films such as Se7en, The Game, and Fight Club I saw with shock and awe. And he did such a magnificent job directing Dragon Tattoo, and yes, when being critically examined, it should be evaluated on its own, but the fact remains that the previous movie exists.
When it's redundant, it's redundant.