Last night I watched an incredibly beautiful and quiet movie based on a book I adored: Balzac: And the Little Chinese Seamstress.
First, I'll be frank. (You be Jim.) They deviate slightly from the novel. They HAVE to, as there wasn't much dialogue. The only misstep IMO was towards the end, even though it satisfies the "what happened next" aspect that anyone who writes fanfiction can identify with. If you haven't read the novel, you are doing yourself a disservice. Quiet, thoughtful, lyrical. Interesting side-note: Japanese movies and novels tend to be very testosterone-driven, where Chinese (the ones I've read/seen, etc.) allow women to be central figures.
When I die, I want to be cremated and spread over the Phoenix mountains. My god, the backdrop for this movie is so beautiful. Two boys, sons of intellectuals during Mao's reign, are sent to live in the mountains and literally haul shit for the peasants. To be "re-educated" so they no longer want to be a part of anything "reactionary." Funny moment with one of the boys, Luo (who if he isn't the most beautiful boy on earth, he's in the top three) who's father is a "reactionary dentist." Ha! Basically, he fixed the tooth of someone Mao deemed dangerous.
They are literate, and quite literate at that. The villagers are completely illiterate, have never seen a clock, a violin... All of which turns into fortune for the boys, as they claim a Mozart sonata is called "Mozart is thinking of Mao" so the one boy, Ma, can keep his instrument. (Oh, god I had serious heart palpitations when the villagers were passing the violin around, shaking it, and almost throwing it in the fire. Once an orch dork, always an orch dork.) The love that happens builds naturally, and is so sweet and touching and erotic, oh my god... Both boys fall in love with Little Seamstress, and one scene with her lying in a pile of leaves, and both Luo and Ma lay down on either side of her while they tell her stories from foreign novels, and she takes both of their hands and smiles... So beautiful.
Luo, with his charm and easy wit is able to get the Little Seamstress to fall in love with him, and he falls likewise. His goal was to educate her. Left in the dust is Ma, who is quieter, more cautious, but has passion just at the surface, waiting to break out. When Luo has to leave, he is left to pick up the pieces and continue to love from afar.
The idea of two boys bringing "intellect" to these people is lovely - in the face of oppression, knowledge and love and art will always find a way, but I love that Little Seamstress, instead of being content with sitting at their feet and always learning from them, outgrows their lessons and wants to find out on her own. Um, I'm starting to sound pretentious to myself, so just know it's a beautiful, quiet movie, and takes the themes of the novel and translates them wonderfully.
[ETA]: The BEST Dallas-Based company EVER. Anti-Successories!! Be sure to check them ALL out.
Some quotes from Anti-Successories:
~Inspiration: Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99% perspiration, which is why engineers sometimes smell really bad
~Get to Work: You aren't being paid to believe in the power of your dreams.
~Effort: Hard work never killed anybody, but it is illegal in some places
~Dysfunction: The only consistent feature of all your dissatisfying relationships is you.
~Compromise: Let's agree to respect each others views, no matter how wrong yours may be.
Really, it's the accompanying poster that makes these so damn funny.