The Cultural Gutter

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"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

“Johnnie To: A Life In Pictures”

Transcript from BAFTA’s tribute to director Johnnie To, “Johnnie To: A Life In Pictures.” It’s a great interview with To about his films and process. “Like when I made The Mission I didn’t have a script. It was 1999 and I didn’t have any money so we went to Taiwan and they gave us very […]

“Jackie Chan: How to Do Action Comedy”

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At Every Frame A Painting, Tony Zhou takes a close look at the action comedy of Jackie Chan.

So Much Art

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So much art available for your browsing pleasure as the Smithsonian puts 40,000 pieces of Asian art from the Freer and Saeckler Collection online.

RIP, Ken Takakura

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Actor Ken Takakura has died. Takakura starred in films such as Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965); Red Peony Gambler (1968); Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ichijoji (1955) and Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956); as well as in co-productions like The Yakuza (1974); The Bullet Train (1975); Black Rain (1989) and Riding Alone For Thousands […]

Interview with Director Ringo Lam

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At Kaiju Shakedown, Hiroshi Fukazawa interviews director Ringo Lam. “Not as flashy as John Woo, never as hyperkinetic as Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam is one of Hong Kong’s most underappreciated directors. He made his name with sophisticated, downbeat crime dramas that came to define a certain style of urban Hong Kong cinema in the Eighties […]

Photographs of 1950s and 1960s Hong Kong

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A gallery of Fan Ho’s photos of Hong Kong from the book, Fan Ho: A Hong Kong Memoir. (Thanks, Clarice!)

Patrick Lung Kong & Tsui Hark Discuss A Better Tomorrow

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Patrick Lung Kong and Tsui Hark discuss their work together and Lung’s influential film, The Story Of A Discharged Prisoner (1967), during a retrospective of Lung’s work. ‘Protesters called “and said ‘Burn that film, burn it!’” Lung Kong said. The timing was off, with Hong Kong embroiled in riots, and demonstrators targeted a government official […]

“A Beginner’s Guide To Jademan”

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The Comics Journal takes an in-depth look a Tony Wong Yuk-Long, Ma Wing-Shing and the massive Hong Kong comics publisher, Jademan Holdings Ltd., and Jademan in North America: “He is a showman, this Tony Wong–a real Stan Lee, though I would argue that he is more interesting than the American model.” (via Kaiju Shakedown).

Kaiju Shakedown: Hopping Vampire Edition

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With the US release of Juno Mak’s Rigor Mortis, Grady Hendrix decides it’s time to revisit the hopping vampire movies of yore.

Sixties and Seventies Asian Pop Record Covers

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A gallery of Singaporean, Malaysian, Indonesian,  Hong Kong and Japanese pop album covers.

Ushering In A New Regime: Johnnie To, Crime Films and Dissent

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Last month, I wrote about British (and a little pre-People’s Republic Chinese) censorship of Hong Kong movies and the ways that wuxia and kung fu movies in particular got around British control of political speech. And now, with wuxia and kung fu movies seemingly all nationalistic, dissent has creeped into the crime films, so this […]

“Going Home” in China

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At The New York Times, Dan Levin writes about Kenny G. and his song “Going Home” in China. “There are many things about modern China that defy easy explanation: parents posing their children next to live tigers, the sight of grown women wearing furry cat-ear headbands while shopping, the performance-art-like spectacle of strangers napping together […]

“The Wayward World of Wuxia”

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“While the 1950s were considered a tumultuous period of history for the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong was undergoing an incredible revitalization of literature and cinema, a period informally known as the Golden Age of Wuxia (武 侠), or martial arts fantasy.” Terence Hsieh has more on wuxia, wuxia novels and wuxia novelists at The Word Of Chinese.

Blurry Images Coming Clear: Hong Kong Cinema, Censorship and Me

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Every April, we like to switch things up at the Gutter, with the editors writing about something outside their domains. This week, Comics Editor Carol writes about subtitles, censorship and Hong Kong cinema. I don’t remember the first kung fu movie I ever watched. I am terrible at remembering “firsts.”  But I do remember the […]

“A Gaggle of Golgo 13″

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Over at Teleport City, Keith takes a look at live-action and animated adaptations of Takao Saito’s manga, Golgo 13.

Revenge In South Korean Cinema

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Some interesting thoughts on South Korean cinema with “A Dish Best Served Bloody: Revenge In South Korean Cinema” and this Cannes program piece on Arirang (1926) and the history of Korean film.

“The Architecture of Kowloon Walled City”

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Architecture Daily has an excerpt from City of Darkness detailing the development of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City. “By the 1970s, the City had filled out to its maximised form, with buildings of up to 14 storeys in height, and virtually no ground level daylight penetration save at its centre. Its density was estimated to […]

RIP, Wu Ma

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Actor Wu Ma has died. The South China Morning Post, The Straits Times, and The Hollywood Reporter have obituaries. Scene Asia has tributes. Wu Ma is probably best known for his role as a ghost-hunting Taoist priest in A Chinese Ghost Story, but he appeared in almost 300 films. Here’s the trailer for his first […]

In Memoriam, Run Run Shaw

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The Gutter’s own Carol writes a little about Run Run Shaw, Shaw Brothers and TVB.  “So often we talk about history as this disembodied thing, these external events. And then there is someone like Sir Run Run, who contained almost the entire arc of modern entertainment in his lifetime, in his self.”

RIP, Run Run Shaw

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Film and television producer Run Run Shaw has died. Sir Run Run founded Shaw Brothers with his brother, Run Me Shaw. They produced hundreds of films in all genres, but were best known for their revolutionary kung fu and wuxia movies. Shaw also produced myriad television programs for TVB. The South China Morning Post remembers […]

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    At the New Republic, B. D. McClay writes about Shirley Jackson and a new collection containing previously unpublished stories and essays by Jackson. “Let Me Tell You, on the other hand, is for the already-converted fan, who will be delighted to read so many new stories and essays. The greatest attraction is the 15 essays, which touch on subjects as diverse as the travails of being married to a book critic (‘book reviewing is just nothing for a healthy young girl to be married to’), Samuel Richardson (‘no small action is consummated in less than ten pages’), poltergeist-bearing postcards (‘I think it is simply too much for any one house to have poltergeists and children’), and clowns.”

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    At Teleport City, the Gutter’s own Carol writes about 12 books that vary in reputability and their harrowing nature. They include books by Shirley Jackson, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith and Herman Melville.

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    Anne Billson has posted a 1985 interview she did with director George Miller (the Mad Max films). Miller talks about many things including Aunty Entity’s probable past as a hero and Max as, in Mel Gibson’s words, “a closet human being.” (Thanks, Matt!)

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    At New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells writes about bees, colony collapse disorder and beekeeper Dave Hackenberg. “It’s been a long decade for bees. We’ve been panicking about them nonstop since 2006, when beekeeper Dave Hackenberg inspected 2,400 hives wintering in Florida and found 400 of them abandoned — totally empty. American beekeepers had experienced dramatic die-offs before, as recently as the previous winter in California and in regular bouts with a deadly bug called the varroa mite since the 1980s. But those die-offs would at least produce bodies pathologists could study. Here, the bees had just disappeared. In the U.K., they called it Mary Celeste syndrome, after the merchant ship discovered off the Azores in 1872 with not a single passenger aboard. The bees hadn’t even scrawled CROATOAN in honey on the door on their way out of the hive.”

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    Andrew Nette has a pair of interesting pieces on pulp you might be interested in. First, he writes about “the New Pulp” and a bit about Fifty Shades of Gray in “Fifty Shades of Pulp.” Then he writes about pulp and literacy and furthering social advancement in “Pulp and Circumstance.”  “Most people view pulp as either exploitative lowbrow culture or highly collectable retro artefact. Yet pulp has a secret history which Rabinowitz’s book uncovers. Her central thesis is that cheap, mass-produced pulp novels not only provided entertainment and cheap titillating thrills, but also brought modernism to the American people, democratising reading and, in the process, furthering culture and social enlightenment.”

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    The Projection Booth interviews actor Ed Asner.

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