Running Out of Karma: A Moment of Romance III

Running Out of Karma is my on-going series on Johnnie To, Hong Kong and
Chinese-language cinema. Here is an index.

For his final film before launching the Milkyway Image studio, Johnnie To took a super-generic script, applied a Steven Spielberg visual aesthetic, and almost made an FW Murnau movie out of it. A rarity for To, a period film, a romance set during the second World War, with Andy Lau as a pilot who crash lands in a remote village and is nursed back to health by Jacklyn Wu (these two stars are the only connection to the other A Moment of Romance films: in Hong Kong, spiritual sequels can be numbered as actual sequels, they need not be in any other way related). They fall in love and when he returns to the war effort, she follows him to the big city, splitting the film neatly into country/city halves like Crocodile Dundee.

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This Week in Rankings

Since the last update, I wrote about Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid at the Mubi Notebook and talked wuxia films on the Filmspotting podcast. Here at The End I wrote about 30 Essential Wuxia Films, continued my chronological Johnnie To series with The Fun, the Luck and the Tycoon, and reviewed the new Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel Sword of Destiny. Over at Seattle Screen Scene I wrote about The Witch and Rise of the Legend.

Ater 83 episodes we wrapped up The George Sanders Show with a look at Canyon PassageThe Razor’s Edge and the Best Films of 2015. Then we launched The Frances Farmer Show, which is basically exactly the same show, but based at Seattle Screen Scene instead. On the first episode, we talked about The Big Sleep and Fire Walk with Me.

Also since the last update, I announced the winners of the 2015 Endy Awards. Concurrently I updated a number of previous awards based on some of the films listed below (1992, 1994 and 2006 in particular saw some major revisions) and I’ve now got fake movie awards from every year from 1990-2015.

These are the movies I watched and rewatched over the last few weeks, and where they place on my year-by-year rankings.

The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks) – 1, 1946
Canyon Passage (Jacques Tourneur) – 5, 1946
Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau) – 10, 1946
The Razor’s Edge (Edmund Goulding) – 11, 1946
The Strange Woman (Edgar G. Ulmer) – 19, 1946

Donald’s Double Trouble (Jack King) – 24, 1946
The Dark Corner (Henry Hathaway) – 29, 1946
Dressed to Kill (Roy William Neill) – 32, 1946
The Flame and the Arrow (Jacques Tourneur) – 21, 1950
Desk Set (Walter Lang) – 43, 1957

The Heroic Ones (Chang Cheh) – 4, 1970
A Moment of Romance (Benny Chan) – 26, 1990
The Fun, the Luck & the Tycoon (Johnnie To) – 40, 1990
Fire Walk with Me (David Lynch) – 5, 1992
Ashes of Time (Wong Kar-wai) – 4, 1994

The Blade (Tsui Hark) – 9, 1995
The God of Cookery (Stephen Chow & Lee Lik-chi) – 18, 1996
Thirdworld (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 22, 1998
Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 3, 2002
Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 1, 2004

Worldly Desires (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 32, 2005
Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 2, 2006
The Anthem (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 20, 2006
Luminous People (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 38, 2007
Vampire (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 32, 2008

Phantoms of Nabua (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 8, 2009
A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 21, 2009
Haiku (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) – 37, 2009
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – 4, 2010
Rise of the Legend (Roy Chow) – 73, 2014
Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick) – 11, 2015

Office (Johnnie To) – 17, 2015
The Witch (Robert Eggers) – 45, 2015
Forget Me Not (Kei Horie) – 49, 2015
The Mermaid (Stephen Chow) – 2, 2016
10 Cloverfield Lane (Dan Trachtenberg) – 3, 2016
The Sword of Destiny (Yuen Woo-ping) – 5, 2016