3 Sweet Films For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Some people might cringe at the thought they would be spending time by themselves and then there are some who are not single but are in an unhappy relationship. So, they too will be spending Valentine’s Day by themselves. Hopefully, if you are single, you are happy, and if you are in a relationship you are happy. Either way, you can still celebrate it. You don’t have to be in love or have a significant other or be romantically deprived to appreciate these films I’m about to list. They are great works of art anyone could watch over and over! So let the arrow of Cupid strike the heart of the hopeless romantic.

It’s the closes picture that resonate my thoughts about Valentine’s Day. (Photo by Chris F on Pexels.com)

The first film (animation) on my list is Millenium Actress (2001), directed by Satoshi Kon. I remember seeing this animation on my recommendation list on Prime Video. It’s not one of those shows where I can put it in the background and still know what is going on. This animation is a piece of ART! I had to give it all my attention to completely appreciate it. Let me tell you, I find it hard these days to find something good to watch. Partially it’s because most things are just blah to me. So when I do find something that speaks to my senses, I am reminded why I appreciate art, theatre and anything creative in general. Artistically, this animation is creatively well done. The soundtrack is also great! At a glance, it feels like a romantic story, but there’s nothing romantic about the animation. Infatuation for someone you barely met is a bit crazy, and yet there’s something tragically innocent about this film that I like. It captivates a young girl’s heart in a twisted way.

Like Millenium ActressThe Road Home (1999) directed by Yi-Mou Zhang, revolves around the retelling of a young woman’s infatuation except it is not as sad. Also, the story is told by the son through the lens of his mother. What I enjoyed about this film is the simplistic shots taken in rural China. Everything seems so down to earth and beautiful despite the political turmoil during that era as we see in To Live. The scenery is wholesome and bittersweet, especially the cooking scene. I never wanted to eat dumplings so badly! Village life in a remote area seems so pure from the sophisticated city life, although I can’t say I am a fan of China’s communism or communism in general. Having to tiptoe around politics can be quite exhausting for the creative folks.It is even more of a threat if you are established and well known.

This scene was pretty moving…

Last but not least on the list is Jane Eyre (1997), directed by Robert Young. I’ve seen the longer version from BBC, but this one is just as good. This version is short and simple. The language is poetic and moving. My favorite line is when Rochester interrupted Jane by saying Thorfield has become a ruin like himself. The wordplay is a punch to the heart when he refers himself to a ruin. Ruins may crumble but they are also majestically precious and beautiful that need attentive care. The film ended strongly because of its powerful metaphor, which I may go into detail about it at a later time. For now, this film was a good treat when I wanted to listen to people talk poetically to each other.

When I put this list together, it was interesting to see how each culture presents love and romance in different ways and wonder if time has changed all that much in the way people think about courting and love. Artistically, I don’t think one is superior than the other. They all have their special style. I know that Millenium Actress is not considered romance but drama. But I think it’s romantic enough for male audience so that is why I chose it for my list. This also made me wonder why it seems that women do the chasing and not men in Asian cinema. I don’t think I have ever seen East Asian films where the men pursue the women, but I could be wrong. I can’t say I have seen a lot of films to convince me otherwise. Perhaps, this is a topic I want to look in greater detail. Simply for my own pure amusement. Hopefully you will learn something along with me.

Watching Horror Films Is A Ticket to the Amusement Park

I’m already looking forward to cooler weather. I always do around this time of the season. My favorite season has always been fall. There’s something exciting about going back to school (I am thinking about my elementary days. Children are just by far more imaginative, open-minded, and shockingly wiser than most adults I came across). The greatest excitement of course was going to our local fairground (As I’m writing this blog post on Aug. 16th, I learned today is National Rollercoaster Day. How seasonal and festive of me to be in tune with society. Normally, I don’t celebrate holidays). I was always looking forward to the haunted house ride, eating caramel apples and cotton candy. I believe I enjoyed the haunted house more than the rollercoaster rides because they left a bigger impression on my childhood memory.

This really got me thinking about why I like haunted houses and why one of my all-time favorite films is House on Haunted Hill (1999), it’s really not all that great in terms of plot but the costumes, props, and humor were well worth the time. Plus, I learned how to play Marilyn’s Manson Sweet Dreams on the guitar. I thought the song really summarized the plot pretty well. And it wasn’t until recently that I read Shirley Jackson’s novel, the author of The Haunting of Hill House (1959) which inspired many spin-offs such as Haunting (1999) that I realized I have a fascination with haunted houses and ghost stories. I often wonder why ghosts are often trapped and dwell in one area when in reality I think there are many living people resembling a walking corpse. Anyway, then you have a haunted spaceship like the Event Horizon (1997), another fun film to watch with a scary concept of a haunted spaceship! And of course, recently I watched The Wind. It was pretty decent, considering the fact it’s the prairie that is haunting and not the actual house in the middle of nowhere. The film most likely will appeal to a female audience more than a male audience because there is not much gore and unnecessary eye candy shots that’s for sure. It has a feminine touch where pretty women are more of a tease than sexualized. Most horror films made in the past are directed by men so it was nice to watch something different for a change where a distressed woman holds a shotgun to protect herself from the “demon prairie” which could have just been her imagination. Some scenes reminded me of a hair product ad, prairie horror style. In the bathing scene, instead of full breasts exposure–the protagonist’s long hair covers her chest. She stares at the camera. Besides her is a shotgun. Yes, the shotgun is very powerful and so is she.

I can always tell when a woman directed a film. The Wind was directed by Emma Tammi. There’s a level of classiness in the way women view their bodies. As a female audience, there’s nothing more irritating to me than to see a naked woman tossed around like a rag doll. But have things changed for the better just because there are more female directors out there? It seems like women still care a whole lot about making a political statement instead of creating a genuine horror story, but I could be wrong. Before watching The Wind, I also watched another horror film with a strong political statement, directed by a female (Iris K. Shim) called Umma, which you can also find on Netflix. Watching The Wind and Umma made me wonder if making a statement is the director’s intention, then sadly, women still have a long way to earn the respect they deserve in the film industry.

So, why did I have all these questions about female directors in horror films? Am I prepping readers for more horror content because I feel like being a nice witch and because the spooky season is only two months away? Am I trying to stir the feminist pot?

Halsdoll playing Dark Souls II
Oh, I wonder why I like Dark Souls II Scholar of the First Sin so much…Heh heh heh.

I hope this post will give my readers what to expect in the upcoming future. I tried to discipline myself surely by creating content, but I rarely find the motivation to blog consistently as I used to since my purpose of blogging has changed. I am no longer stranded in the middle of a city where I need to write SOS messages to the world, but more like I am in the middle of nowhere, the Midwest. That does affect my ability to write. The cowboy environment slows me down and puts me into a sleepy spell. I haven’t been feeling like my usual self. I feel quite dead when I’m not utilizing the creative parts of my brain. Hopefully, cooler weather will fix this writing slump!