This is not an informative blog regarding the hagfish. It is, instead, an autobiographical work by me, Ann Murray. I am not a fish. Sorry. This in one form or other, is the story of my mishaps, and also, some of my haps. Fair and Balanced and all that.



Saturday, December 30, 2006

Oh Ji Ho - A New Year


NOT this.

The sun rises at the Unification Observatory in Goseong, Gangwon Province. The year comes to a close with tension between the two Koreas following the North's missile and nuclear tests, and suspension of inter-Korean dialogue. [Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald]

Peace, Health, and Happiness to all.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Dedicated to Michael J. Sakara

Please Click image to view full size.

Your Death

Was an ignominious act,
performed by a madman.
Allowed through an error in judgment
by the gods who look after souls like yours.
They failed to see the future on that night.

I stared at the computer screen
that brought me the news,
years old, and quite
incomprehensible at first.

A friend came by to see me
bringing me a nicely wrapped gift.

It’s Christmastime now and
I can’t tell anyone you’re dead
because if I do I will begin to sob
with sounds that come out as
short barks, like laughter, and
if they love me, their day will be ruined,
since the entire tale is so off-the-wall
horrendous, and so filled with
unspeakable images for the prudish,
it’s too tawdry for their tender sensibilities,
and so agonizing to the wild hares who move
among the allegedly normal,
disguised as shop clerks, and waiters,
and plain looking people who live
alone in small apartments, and read
esoteric literature, and date librarians…
the ones with empathy, who will immediately
understand the entire thing, and shudder,
and momentarily go faint with the horror of it all.

You are so out of place Michael.
Can you hear me?
You are so out of place.

You belong somewhere else. You’re supposed to grow old.
You’re supposed to love life until the last possible ancient breath you draw comes out in a sound like a rattling windowpane.

The friend who dropped by wanted me to look at the present, but I had only known where you are now for less than an hour, and I was shaking too much, and I cried like a lost dog that was broken in half, while I pressed my face into her soft winter jacket, and suffocated in her well-meaning platitudes.

For Michael J. Sakara

A. Murray
December 14, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Michael J. Sakara, one of an endangered species.


Michael Sakara was my friend. We lived a couple of blocks apart in New York City. We met in 1969 around the time my mother was dying. The circumstances of our meeting were awkward and highly charged. They are not relevant to anything that will follow here.

In time, after we met, we had a few conversations, and found ourselves liking each other a lot in spite of a rocky beginning. We became friends. I became one of a group of his friends that would get together, usually at his place, for a few drinks and conversation. I enjoyed his other friends, and we became a circle of sorts. My feelings for Michael deepened, as his did for me. We talked on the phone a couple of times a week at least, and got together very often. We were only a sneeze apart.

His other friends were all far above me in education, and mostly in economic status also. I may have actually been the least solvent of the group. They were mainly involved in the arts. Music, theatre, writing…. They were fascinating, warm, accomplished individuals.

I met an opera singer there, who has since become well known. I will not name her because I would prefer to have her permission to do so. But I’ve heard her sing on recordings, and she sang for us once while another friend, Stewart, played the piano. Michael’s shiny black grand piano sat at the end of the living room in front of large windows. It was a beautiful scene, with her singing against a backdrop of New York lights and big potted plants.

I liked all those people. They were so intelligent, clever and funny, and they accepted me immediately as one of them. It was a new experience for me, being at the center of that much intellectual energy and wit.

So many years later, I am finally aware that I had some talents myself, even at that fledgling level of my development. One of his very close friends, a composer (this man is well known in the field of music, and again I don’t have permission to name him, so I can’t for the sake of his privacy) published a poem I’d written in a local paper, another, a writer sat in my apartment one night reading my poetry, brutalizing it, but found the pieces he felt were good, and told me why they were. Today I think I love him for it.

Michael was aware of my ugly-duckling, un-dated, un-courted existence of the time, and began taking me to dinner often, always picking up the tab. We would dress up, and go. It would be like a date, and it made me feel happy. I was in mourning for my mother, and he understood that I needed some cheering up, some getting out and away from it all.

We spent so many days, and even nights together, when I’d fall asleep on his sofa, because we had talked until we were nearly unconscious.

We played chess. I never won. I’m not a player, but it was such an elegant game, and Michael was an elegant man. It was a classy thing to do together. I loved it. He never criticized me for playing poorly.

Michael loved good food.

The first time I ate escargot, it was with Michael. He gave me one to try, and I loved it. The first time I ate frog’s legs, it was with Michael, I tasted his. The first time I had Banana FlambĂ© it was with Michael. My first glass of Cointreau…. There were so many sophisticated adventures between us. I felt as though I were being groomed in a sense.

He gave me good wine, and we smoked good grass together. We listened to good music, and I learned to become me. He was the only person I knew who would lie down on the floor wearing headphones to hear music, while feeling the vibrations of it through his body. I got a pair of headphones as a gift eventually, and almost always listened while feeling the music through the floor. Michael taught me about good electronic equipment, and to this day I buy the best I can afford. He showed me quality in places I wasn’t aware of before knowing him.

It was with Michael that I took my first hit of mescaline, and he pulled me across the divide toward recognition that I was in fact, safe and sane in his arms in spite of my terror of the moment. He held me until I got back to the world uninhabited by nightmare visions. I have never regretted that first hit. We both learned that I would do better on a half tab, and hysteria never devoured me again when I was tripping. I almost always did it with him. When I was alone, it was never fun. Together, the world was hilarious, music was something divine, and introspection was sacred.

No matter what the attitude of these times may be, and no matter how comfortably I might be viewed with distaste for my drug ventures, I will challenge any critic to reach the places of deep understanding I reached when under the “influence”.

I would never have gone there without Michael being my guardian and guide. I will always be happy that I went on those mind journeys with my friend.

I will also always remember the sun rising across the water as we rode the Staten Island Ferry back home to the City during my first trip, as the drug’s effect wore off. I will always remember the flowers I bought at a sidewalk stand, and carried with me, just to look at the color of them all through the night. I will always remember the early breakfast at The Brasserie on 53rd St. as we made our way back to so-called real life. I can taste the coffee, I can hear our laughter at the night we’d passed as strange wanderers, and I can see his smile…. He had a cheerful absolute smile.

Michael was murdered in July of 1993. I found out about it during one of my searches on the web, looking for lost friends. He was cut into seven pieces after he was eviscerated. He was left here and there in plastic trash bags. He was thrown away.

I discovered it just a couple of hours ago, and I am going mad from it.

Writing this isn’t about me and this terrible grief that is eating my heart. It’s about Michael, and maybe someone you love.

Michael died because he was gay. It’s just that simple. He was gay. He loved men instead of women.

But he loved me, and I’m a woman. I was his friend. He loved his sister, and I suppose his mother, and I know he loved the women friends of the little charmed circle.

He could be difficult, who can’t? But he was a giving friend, and a kind one, and he could be very comforting to a newly orphaned 29 year old. He had great beauty within, and he shared all the good things about himself. He was often the center of a group, but it was always okay that he be so.

Years after I left New York, I spoke with him. I called him out of the blue. My marriage had fallen into ashes, and I was moving to a new place. I bought a small dwelling for myself, and wanted to tell him. He was sorry about my marriage, but very happy for me about my new home.

Things didn’t go too well for me right after that, and there were many economic woes and close calls to deal with, and everyone from yesterday faded in the face of new disasters.

When I finally got a computer in 2000, I discovered eventually that I could find people on the web, but his number wasn’t listed anymore. He had moved away it seemed. I’d tried to call but the phone was disconnected. I figured he’d been gone too long for a forwarding intercept. So I kept trying the Internet.

I never quit looking, but I didn’t do it obsessively. Every couple of years I’d search for one friend or another. Search engines weren’t what they are today, and today I got a taste of high technological excellence when Google dropped two old New York Times articles from the sky into my brain.

When I searched this time, I just typed in Michael Sakara, no initial, and there they were…two articles about the murdered Michael J. Sakara. I knew there was no mistake in identity when I saw the middle initial. It was him.

And now my bookmarks contain a lot of things about it that I can’t deal with at the moment.

When the righteous among us revile gay people it makes my stomach turn to a bile filled sack. Who are they to judge anyone else? I hope I don’t hear any anti-gay rhetoric from anyone soon, because I’m liable to become very vehement and vicious, and maybe even physically unwise. This would serve no purpose whatsoever.

My friend will never call to invite me to dinner again, or to rove the midnight streets just looking in store windows. The family he left behind will feel his absence at the holidays, and on his birthday, and on the anniversary of his death, and every time they recall something he said that was funny, or kind, or even hateful. If he left a lover behind, that man will always feel the pain.

When we love deeply, I think it tends to stay with us in one way or another until we die. And there’s always a time that comes when the light is a certain color, or a breeze touches you with a familiar scent that evokes a shade of melancholy, and we mourn for a moment for the lost loves…child, sibling, parent, grand-parent, uncle or aunt…spouse, lover…friend….

Michael, I know I hurt you a long time ago. I was too dense to ever tell you how much it bothered me. So I want to say here, I am so sorry my friend.

If you, the reader have a gay person in your life, please be aware that they are always in potential danger because lunatics prey on them the same way they prey on children, or defenseless women.

They beat. They rape. They hack. They slash. They shoot. They pulverize. They drown. They dismember. They torture. They do it all, and they are out there in the guise of the respectable. The man who murdered Michael was a surgical nurse for many years at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. He was working there when he killed Michael.

Yes, a very respectable man, just having a drink in a quiet gay bar, just having a conversation with another man he didn’t know. Just a serial killer
who cut my friend up and threw him away like garbage. My friend was not garbage; he was a human being of worth.

The murder, Richard W. Rogers, got life in prison. If he’s still living, I hope he suffers every single day of his miserable existence, and if he ever gets out, as they often do, it would be nice to imagine a fate of an ugly unexpected nature awaited him. But I am not such a dreamer. All I can do is curse him in my razor sharp rage, and call hell down on him. He’s getting old now, if he’s still alive. I can’t find anything that indicates he isn’t. He’s an old murderer.

I am a newly minted mourner. If my hatred can reach into his heart like an ice pick, I send it his way.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

See this man at once!

I found a good one. Very smart and funny. Too perceptive for comfort. Who needs comfort?

A Numpty Speaketh

Also see The Scots Word of the Week

Don't be shy, click on the links.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Swordfish Reviewed - Dreck Meets The Matrix

Swordfish (2001)

Wowie kazowie, what a lousy movie.

We have The Matrix's flavor and style to thank for this ugly flick, which at .75 cents brand spanking new, was over-priced.

The Matrix was a classy one-of-a-kind movie, that used ugly drab coloration to make a point. It succeeded brilliantly in this. Brilliantly enough to bring about a long horrible spate of doofus-like imitation everywhere. TV ads were copies of it, people aped the style of dress and presentation ad nauseum, like chimpanzees conditioned by Pavlov…the whole thing was tiresome beyond belief.

And then there is Swordfish.

Since many other souls, 492 of them at IMDb (as of 05-14-06) have already written about Swordfish, I don't feel it necessary to add a synopsis. If you really need one, go there.

It starts out at the very beginning, as merely annoying visually, and goes downhill from there. The influence of The Matrix is unpleasantly obvious in the drab color scheme, which goes so far as to turn people green upon occasion (OUCH), and all the twiddly computer jazz we're supposed to be awe-stricken by.

Give me a break.

I have two names: John Travolta. Don Cheadle.

While I would by far prefer to see Travolta cavorting about as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, it still must be said that he's always fun to watch. He's larger than life, and in his youth, was a very pretty boy. I respect his ability to work hard at a role, and he consistently gives me what I want. Entertainment. He is not a great actor. He’s an entertainer. That’s good enough for me.

I do not seek depth and profundity in movies (especially those coming out of Hollywood). And I am always pathetically grateful when, unexpectedly, I find it. In the main, I want to be amused and entertained. I want the nepenthe a movie can give me without any harmful side effects. Done, and done, time and time again by Travolta.

Don Cheadle is so solid, so good, and so competent, it breaks my heart to see him in this piece of tripe.

Also, honorable mention must be given to Rudolph Martin as Axel Torvalds.

That having been said, I will remark that Halle Berry's gratuitous semi-nudity, and excessive camped up performance as a manipulative sex goddess was so over the top in terms of bad acting, I was amazed enough by it to be able to stay awake 'til the bitter end. She must have had some steep bills to pay or an eye on a luxury yacht that would look nice with her on it. Maybe something more practical, like a new mansion. It has to have been for the money. What else could make a woman willing to demean herself so thoroughly in mainstream cinema?

The transparency of her character was offensively obvious; I knew what she was about within seconds of her first appearance. Only the village idiot would have been tricked into imagining she was one of the "good guys".

This is a terrible film. There was a 12-minute short at the end, with alternate endings, and standard producer-director enthusiastic drivel thrown in for good measure. They were possibly the least tiresome 12 minutes of the movie.

The elected ending was weak and stupid. Holly, (Camryn Grimes) the daughter of the hero, who had been through unimaginable hell emerges sane, unscathed, and even able to be strong for Papa, remarking that, "it's going to be alright..." Oh yeah?

And let's not forget Hugh Jackman, who grimaces, furrows his brows, and occasionally smirks his way through as the desperately devoted papa. Ho boy! Is this guy an actor, or a movie star?

Movie stars are not necessarily required to be good actors. What they need is "IT". A dedicated coterie of swooning female, or drooling male followers never hurts, and can catapult a salamander to stardom. Studio heads are not aficionados of great art. They are businessmen sitting in the counting room counting up their money.

Oh feh. This is an old flick, already forgotten. No need for it to be battered into the ground any further by one who, incidentally, tends to be the Devil's advocate, and champion of underdogs where heavily panned movies/actors are concerned.

A. Murray
January 31, 2006

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mi in (La Belle) A new review

La Belle (Mi in)
Commentary by A. Murray
April 27, 2006

What a much discussed and often misunderstood movie!

Because there is frequent nudity and apparent sexual activity, untold numbers of people have labeled it either as pornography or soft-core pornography whether they’ve seen the film or not. Korean law prohibits full frontal nudity in movies made there, so you see breasts and buttocks, nothing more. The sex in La Belle is definitely not the real thing.

The movie is NOT pornography. Hard-core pornography deals with very explicit sexual acts. Pornography consists of displaying intimate parts of the body during sexual activity. It relies greatly on tiresome close-ups that usually resemble pink machine parts hammering into other pink machine parts. I will not stoop to a critique of porn flick background music, or the moaning groaning vocal overlays.

La Belle does none of this.

Something a lot of people don't seem to understand about La Belle, is the fact it’s surreal. When recognized as surreal it reaches a level where it must be processed through intellect first. Surrealism demands that of the viewer. Because it is abstract, it keeps you saying to yourself, did I really see that? Do I understand this, or am I totally off base?

In this case, it's a frequently surrealistic erotic story that could be simply told. Journalist meets woman. Woman is a nude model.

Woman loves a man who cares very little about the fact she exists, other than using her for sex.

Journalist becomes obsessed with woman to the degree that he no longer functions in his professional capacity as a writer. They both go down the tubes.

End of story.


Seeing La Belle is like being submerged in a pool of sensuality surrounded by beautiful imagery. The director, Yeo Kyun Dong, has a fine eye when it comes to line, and gives us an uncluttered elegant framework for the film. Dancer, Ahn Eun Mi, contributed her talent as a "body choreographer", working with the stars Oh Ji Ho and Lee Ji Hyeon for a month, teaching them how to move fluidly. It is this kind of attention that makes La Belle something very special.

The vision of the director, the talent of the choreographer, and the abilities of composer/pianist, No Yeong Shim, who wrote and performed the music, acting in concert with each other, gives us a beautifully crafted view of sex and love in their many variations and tones.

The film opens with a shot of a writing desk and chair. The camera approaches slowly, finally showing an open book with a fountain pen lying across the page. The doorbell rings several times. We hear the voice of a man. He says, “she’s back”. And so begins the tale of a journalist, and a model….

The man (Oh Ji Ho) is obsessed with the woman (Lee Ji Hyeon) with whom he is having an affair, while at the same time wanting to be free of her. He is filled with self-loathing, seeing himself as weak. The relationship is mainly sexual in nature, devoid of any real connection, and therefore, ultimately frustrating. The gratification of the act of sex dissipates quickly, and both are left empty.
Click on photo to enlarge.
While he wishes his love were reciprocated, it is not. He fantasizes about her being the woman he wants her to be in apparent real-time scenarios woven into the actual scene being played out, as he copes with the truth. She is not who or what he longs for her to be.

She wishes for the man she can’t have...the lover of her choice, the abuser who beats her and uses her in an offhand way. She waits for calls from him, and lives with one ear tuned to her cell phone. When he does call, she leaps into action, racing to dress, put on make-up, and leaving as fast as possible to get to him.

This is witnessed time after time by the writer, whose home she has moved into since she seems to have nowhere else to go.

These afflicted lovers have terrible emotional scenes. When the woman returns after a visit with the other man, either drunk or beaten physically, the writer is always there and takes care of her in spite of his desire to be shed of her. They both seem to sink deeper and deeper into a swamp of inner disgust and driving sexual desire.

Director Yeo Kyun Dong uses visual clues throughout that may or may not be picked up by the viewer. In one scene the couple is out walking, one on either side of the street, although they are theoretically walking together. What could describe the separation between these minds and souls better than such a simple device? He also did interesting things with audio, other than merely supplying us with a remarkable musical background.

The very sounds in the film--the clattering departures of the woman, her slamming of the door, her frequent shrillness, her noisy occupation of another's space…is jarring. All this, opposed to the introspective silence of the writer and his isolation when he is alone or quietly writing as his lover sleeps, is calculated and clever, simply because it works on the subconscious, and tells us so much about the characters, without saying a word.

Click on photo to enlarge.

When viewed through the intellect first, without expectation, but with the mind open to the surreal, this becomes a little gem in it's own right. The majority of gems taken from the earth are flawed. It goes without saying that it is a most beautiful film physically, but also that it is flawed.

Some of the flaws lay in the acting ability of Oh Ji Ho who was relatively inexperienced at the time La Belle was made. He was widely criticized for this by online critics, and it took some of the bloom off the rose. Fortunately, he is a doggedly stubborn individual, who doesn’t quit or let go easily, and has made remarkable strides in his work. What he did have then, and still has, is beauty.

In my opinion, he was simply too young for the role even though he looked older than his twenty-four years. In the love scenes, he was exquisite. I have never seen any to compare with them. Where some of the film is done with voice-over narrative, Oh Ji Ho shows his stuff while reciting the lines. In this, he exonerates himself. He reads beautifully. His voice is like honey. His tempo is flawless.

Lee Ji Hyeon, on the other hand, is unquestionably excellent as the desperate woman filled with longing for the man she loves so futilely, while living with a man she eventually feels nothing less than disdain for, a man she uses as a sexual soporific to quell the pain of her life. Her acting ability stuns, as one would be stunned if dropped into a vat of ice water. She takes your breath away. Seeing this talented dynamic woman at work causes you to fall under the spell she weaves. She’s a powerhouse of phenomenal magnetism and energy.

Click on photo to enlarge.
Oh Ji Ho and Lee Ji-Hyeon are good-looking people. Both have nice bodies. They are agile and graceful, and totally believable in the love scenes, which are incredibly sensuous and caressing. This is where the choreographic expertise of Ahn Eun Mi shows brilliantly. Even so small a detail as the positioning of the actors’ hands during the love scenes comes into play with a huge payoff. The physical aspects of the love scenes are stunningly beautiful. They are always riveting.

So, one might say the film is choppy in a sense. When it flows it’s divine, when it stalls it becomes awkward.

Since the reader may not have seen this movie, I will refrain from divulging more of the plot, or the events that take place. I suggest you see it.

Technical Note:
My copy is the Spectrum version from Korea. Generally, Spectrum does a fine job, with excellent picture and sound quality. This version has both. Unfortunately though, it has the worst subtitles I’ve ever seen. They confuse rather than clarify.

I’ve watched the film three times, the last time without subtitles since I'm now familiar with the story line. I was able to enjoy it a lot more without reading the titles. Because I enjoy hearing the Korean language, I kept the volume on.

***Brought to you by The Hyacinth Papers.***
The Hyacinth Papers is a blog I opened to accommodate my appetite for Asian film. I felt it was a good idea to do so, rather than to allow The Hagfish Chronicles to lose it's original tone and content to a new, possibly fleeting, interest of mine. (Being the fickle creature I am....)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Octavia E. Butler

Octavia E. Butler
June 22, 1947-February 24, 2006

I was unaware of Octavia Butler until less than an hour ago.

I heard her being interviewed on Fresh Air. It was recorded several years ago, and I realized how eerie it is to hear the dead speak with so much warmth.

I was in the kitchen, at first, only half listening. They said she had died this week after a fall in her home. I thought, head injury. It seems it is still not known whether she’d had a stroke, or, if indeed, she did hit her head with so much force that it would kill her.

But now it’s too late to do anything but think about the interview, the sound of her compelling voice, the warmth she projected. I listened carefully because I felt there would be something very important coming from this woman. And I was not disappointed.

She was beautiful. Her voice was rich, and her speech was measured, the very sound of her was magical in it's resonance. The words that came from her were wise, and full of practicality, but you would know her poetic side after hearing her for a few minutes. What a delicate touch she had, yet you’d feel it, she wasn’t delicate herself, but the touch….

I feel terribly deprived now. I miss her already.

This is an era where many are, speaking quite frankly, stupid, blissfully undereducated, lacking in imagination, and devoid of genuine compassion. Vast numbers of people who don’t give a tinker’s damn about anything outside their own petty sphere overwhelm us with their brutishness.

In such an atmosphere, it is infinitely painful to suffer the loss of this exquisite intellectual. She has gone, taking her brilliant light with her.

Peaceful journeys Ms. Octavia.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Oh Ji Ho Did It-

An Asianflickophiliac is Born
What do you mean there’s no such word? You just read it, didn’t you? So there it is.

If you’re going to get fixated on something, try something new, unusual, or exotic. Or, live big, go for all three.

Asian movies qualify for me on these counts, with a little bit of cheating where new is concerned. I had seen Chinese movies in the past. Only two I think. It’s been a long time.

I went to dinner with my friend Sybil, and her friend Morty. We were in Chinatown in New York City. We ate fish-head soup, complete with fish-head, and I confess here…it was so delicious, I wish I had some now. No lie. I did not vie for the pleasure of the fish’s eyes, but was pleased with the cheek I was offered, as I was a guest. Sybil got the other one.

After this excellent repast, we walked to the movie theatre to see my first, and Sybil and Morty’s probable millionth Chinese movie. I really liked it. People were flying all over the place throwing dangerous looking interesting things at each other, and the women were very tough. The theatre was packed with Chinese people eating wildly out of take-out containers, and cheering on the heroes.

What a great night.

Fast forward to the present where I languish in the midst of unbearable mediocrity, and dullards supreme. Am I discontent with my existence? You betcha.

Enter Oh Ji Ho.

This is Oh Ji Ho.

Click image to enlarge for full impact.

To get into the tangled trail that led me to his presence in the world requires another confession. I have always been attracted to men I considered exotic, or at least unusual in some way. I had a long time love relationship with a man from Haiti. I married a man from Colombia SA. Had a brief affair with a man from India, and friendships with people of many ethnic backgrounds throughout my life. New York is Mecca. Everyone goes there. If you want to meet incredible people, pack your bag and go to New York. It’s one of the greatest cities in the world.

One day, while cruising around the web, I did a search for Asian men for a piece I was going to write. I stumbled over the link for a forum titled Dedicated to the beauty of Asian Men, I clicked on it, and discovered a totally delightful thread that is now a mile long I suspect. It never seems die off. There’s always another one to rave about. I started looking at the men, and thought, “gee, they are beautiful”.

Curiosity drove me on. I’m never satisfied with handsome faces. I want to know about the people behind them. I got the idea to search image files and to follow up from the sites I’d find. Lo, and behold, within a couple of pages of thumbnails, I found the above photograph.

It stopped me dead in my tracks. I could only say to myself, this is the most beautiful man I have ever seen in my entire life. His name was posted there, so I did another search. I came up with a little bit of data. Discovered he was a fashion model, and that he has moved into the movie/television area. It was through this means I found La Belle, the movie I reviewed in the previous post.

La Belle was my first Asian DVD. I had a VHS copy of Shadow of China, which is a Hong Kong made pan Asian effort, that is in English, and produced for the western consumer. By the way, it’s excellent. The music is phenomenally beautiful, and I wish it were available on DVD. It stars John Lone, a talented Asian actor who unfortunately has been used poorly by American filmmakers through type casting. I believe he’s moved on to directing these days. He’s also a choreographer.

La Belle was the real thing. Pure Asian. I got a taste of Korean work, and liked it. I liked it enough to go in search of other movies with Mr. Oh, because I was familiar with him, and let’s face it, he isn’t exactly chopped liver. I ordered my next DVD, which was Love Trilogy. (Commentary on that to follow.) L.T. was on back order, and it was a long time in coming. I had almost given up on it, but one day I got an e-mail telling me it was on the way, and within a couple of days, it was here. And so began the love affair.

I found a great supplier in HK Flix. I bought more movies. I signed up for newsletters from HanBooks, and also, HanCinema. As time passed, I began to explore other works not just from Korea, but also China.

I now state here that I am a hopeless addict. I mainline these DVDs. If I could afford it, I’d spend thousands on them, and on the best possible equipment to play them.

And it’s all Oh Ji Ho’s fault too. I accept no blame whatsoever.

More to come on the subject of Asian delights of the silver screen. In my next post I will tell you where to go to find Asian movies on DVD, and talk a little bit about the ins and outs of shopping for them. I will also periodically comment on the flicks I’ve seen and liked.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bronze Water

To my dear Rivi, whose heart has been an illuminated flower for me, always reminding me that light exists, no matter how dark it seems. I love you my friend.

Strange Country

To my beloved Rufus, a man with a suitcase, and an impending journey on his hands. I dedicate this to you, from whom I stole the title, certain you'd understand.

May the trail be a happy one. Keep the Moon in mind. She plays hard tricks, you know....