A few things to look at this week

After a lazy week of posting like a frat-boy (high-class smut and meat stuffed donuts) I figure it’s time to return to manga.

Ed at Mangacast treats us to a peek at Le Temps des Frommages by Yamaguchi Yoshinobu.  Truly, Roquefort is the king of cheese.

The Daily Yomiuri Shimbun has a review of Urusawa’s Pluto, an homage to Tezuka.  Pluto is forthcoming from Viz Media in February of 2009, releasing alongside Viz’s other Urusawa property, 20th Century Boys.

The Daily Yomiuri also pulled this from the AP wires: Director Feng Xiaogang’s movie The Assembly swept at China’s Hundred Flowers Awards with best movie, best director, and best actor with Zhang Hanyu winning for his portrayal of Captain Gudzr Di.  The Assembly, about the People’s Liberation Army during China’s civil war in the 1940′s, screened at this past summer’s New York Asian Film Festival where I had the luck of seeing it – and was absolutely floored.  It had the grit and humanity of Sam Peckinpah’s Iron Cross, the lyricism and beauty of Terrence Malick’s Thin Red Line, the visual effects and Hollywood pop of Spielberg.

But it would be a mistake to compare it to western war movies.  This was something far more innovative – and fresh – for coming out of Mainland China (I suspect the Korean fight choreography team that worked on the movie had something to do with it).  There was the familiar theme of “one man against the world”, the single hero, but here fighting for a much larger cause (all his fallen men), the blood of battle, David vs. Goliath.  These are all de rigueur for us in the west, but it’s pretty foreign for China, so it was very interesting to see a story like this unfold with such themes finding a home in the context of a Mainland narrative.  I would say, that if there is only one Chinese movie that you see this year – just one movie that you have to read instead of just watch – please, please, please make it The Assembly.

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