Here’s a bit of inside information. If a movie is described as “a mesmerising slow burn of a martial arts movie”, it means nothing happens for a very……..long………time. Hou Hsiao-hsien has returned to directing after eight years. I remember liking a film of his but I’ve looked on IMDb and I can’t recognise any of his past films. I’m thinking that maybe I just like the sound of his name. Hou Hsiao-hsien. Hou Hsiao-hsien.
At least I got to sit up in the balcony at The Comedy Theatre for this one. Anyone who has read my Day Ten post will know that this is my least favourite venue and so far the balcony has been off-limits. I can now reveal that row two (aisle seat of course) in the balcony is not bad. Row one was reserved for premium members (you can pay $1350 and have a reserved seat at every screening) but row two is pretty good. Still no leg room but that meant I could tell Sir Geoffrey Rush that I was a contortionist as he squeezed past me for the third time as I thoughtfully tucked my legs behind my ears. He laughed.
“But what about the movie?”, I hear you ask. My MIFF-friend Alex leaned in after ten minutes and said, “I’m ready to leave when you are” but I stuck it out for another 30 minutes, just because I have a greater commitment to film. He was right though. Nothing happened. The camera moved very slowly over people who didn’t say anything. The camera filmed through a moving translucent curtain. There were some great costumes and big hairstyles. And there were a couple of very quick action scenes though I think I missed one when my eyes closed for just a second. I’m sure stuff happened later.
You want to know the plot? A girl was promised to her cousin but then he married someone else and she trained as an assassin and then is sent back to kill him. My gut feeling is that she doesn’t but, you never know. Don’t blame me for spoiling the ending because I never got to see it.