We all love film for so many reasons, and one of them is the obvious visual element. I wanted, like these individuals, to highlight this idea but at the same time without completely taking and repurposing it.
Then I started to question what if the same progression we witness over the film’s complete runtime was able to be condensed into only a few images, but rather than being selective of those images make it completely structured? What would we notice now that we may not have while watching the film? And this idea is born.
The idea is this, take a film and take a snapshot every ten minutes (as close as possible with my feeble shakey hands on VLC) and play with the narrative and focus of the film. The inagural film will be the 1992 film Pushing Hands.
This was a fun experiment right?
Well I don’t know. This film, like a lot of Ang Lee’s early work, focuses heavily on the clashing of American and Chinese cultures. See as Lee is someone who exists in both cultures it’s not surprising. The first seven images all cover aspects of Chinese culture as either images from an American point of view or just sitting in the middle of the American culture. I’m quite stuck by the image of the tea by the mountain of papers of work. As the American thing is the work to get every drop of productivity out while China acknowledges the importance of rest and keeping the body and mind steady so as to keep productivity high when one does work.
Then we’re taken to the kitchen as the Chinese is asked to subdue himself to American work culture and it turns to a fight. Slowly returning to a natural state of teaching Tai Chi and remaining as we saw before, a natural state of peace.
Like most Asian cultures this film respects the balance of life. It shows us this by continually rocking itself out of balance in order to return to it; like the competition of Pushing Hands.
What do you see?