Thursday, January 14, 2010

A by-the-numbers look at my 2009 movie viewing year

Waiting for a movie to start one evening in 2009...
in this case, at the Hong Kong premiere of The Message

From left to right: director Dante Lam and
stars Richie Ren and Huang Xiaoming at
the Hong Kong premiere of The Sniper

In the tradition of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 by-the-numbers blog posts...

1 -- The number of films starring Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia that I viewed in a cinema in 2009

2 -- The number of movies starring Leslie Cheung that I viewed in a cinema last year

3 -- The number of Yasmin Ahmad films I viewed for the first time in 2009

4 -- The total number of Malaysian movies I viewed last year

4 also-- The number of silent films I viewed in 2009 (Secrets of a Soul (Germany, 1926), La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (France, 1928), Pharoah's Wife (Germany, 1922) and Wings (USA, 1927))

4 too -- The total number of movies I viewed on a small screen last year (three on DVD, one on board a plane)

9 -- The number of Hong Kong movies viewed last year that I'd give a rating of 9 or above to (And for the record, they are Ah Ying (1983), Ashes of Time Redux (2008 (1994)), Bodyguards and Assassins (2009), Dancing Bull (1990), Floating Life (1996 -- and technically from Australia but directed by Clara Law and containing a fair bit of Cantonese dialogue scenes) It's Always Spring (1962), KJ (2009), Red Cliff 2 (2009), The Valiant Ones (1975))

11 -- The number of films from Mainland China I viewed in 2009

12 -- The number of non-Hong Kong movies viewed in 2009 that I'd give a rating of 9 or above to (with these being Chung Kuo -- Cina (Italy, 1972), Departures (Japan, 2008), Milk (USA, 2008), On the Waterfront (USA, 1954), Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (Japan, 2008), Secrets of a Soul (Germany, 1926), Still Walking (Japan, 2008), The Ceremony (Japan, 1971), Tora San's Sunrise and Sunset (Japan, 1976), Tampopo (Japan, 1985), The Lives of Others (Germany, 2006) and Up (USA, 2009))

13 -- The total number of American movies I viewed in 2009

17 -- The number of black-and-white movies I viewed in 2009

18 -- The total number of films from Japan I viewed last year

24 -- The number of different countries whose movies I saw last year (For the record, they are: Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines and the USA)

26 -- The total number of 2009 Hong Kong films viewed in 2009

42 -- The number of Hong Kong movies I saw for the first time in 2009 (that is, if one were to count Ashes of Time Redux as a new movie...)

78 -- The number of non-Hong Kong films I viewed in 2009 for the first time

118 -- The number of films I viewed on a big screen in 2009 (N.B. These included two rewatches in the form of Hou Hsiao Hsien's bravura City of Sadness (Taiwan, 1989) which I'd now rate as a 10 out of 10, and Peter Chan's He's A Woman, She's A Man (Hong Kong, 1994) which also has been a perfect 10 to my mind.)

120 -- The number of films I viewed for the first time last year

1922 -- The oldest movie I viewed last year (German filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch's Pharoah's Wife)

1954 -- The original date of release of the oldest Hong Kong film I saw last year (The Beauty and the Dumb is a charming dramedy directed by Tang Huang, scripted by Evan Yang and starring the legendary Li Lihua)

(N.B. The above stats apply only to feature length films. Thing is that I have to admit to having kept neither a list nor a tally of the short films I watch in any year!)


lissa said...

I saw Departures - that is the only movie you mention here that I saw, but I am interest in seeing Ponyo on the cliff by the sea and perhaps Ashes of Time - I keep wanting to see that film but somehow keep losing interest, do you recommend the redux version or the original?

Diana said...

Departures is a beautiful film. I enjoyed the Redux more than the original. But I also was fairly new to watching Chinese film when I saw the original, so not surprisingly I was quite lost.

I watch alot of films but never really kept track. This is pretty cool.

Brian Naas said...

You better be careful - some people may get the impression that you are movie crazy - the next Roberta! I think the number of films I saw in a cinema was probably less than 10. When are you doing a Best of the Decade type list for HK? I'd be curious how different we would be.

alejna said...


As I remember writing some previous year (2 years ago, maybe?), the number of movies I've watched was quite a bit smaller. The number I saw in the theater, for example, is quite easy to tally: 1. It was Up. I saw it with Phoebe, and it was her first trip ever to a movie theater!

YTSL said...

Hi Lissa --

Re "Ashes of Time": I love both the original and the redux very much and for my part, am glad I did what I did -- i.e., watch the original first and then the redux version. But if you're someone who isn't very tolerant of flaws in home video presentation, then I'd suggest you go with the redux DVD as the DVDs of the original that I've seen have not been ideal in terms of their visual quality.

Hi Diana --

Maybe you should watch the original "Ashes of Time" again now that you've become more familiar with Chinese cinema (and the actors in the film)?

Hi Brian --

No fear about becoming the next Roberta -- I average about 2 1/2 films a week whereas I think she'd watch more than that a day! :D

As for "best of decade": I thought the end of this decade will come at the end of 2010. So was aiming for then to write up a "best of decade" list, if at all!

Hi Alejna --

Wow... you saw just 1 movie in the theater all of last year? Especially if so, hope you and Phoebe enjoyed the experience! :D