Wuxia Novelist: A Writer's Blog

Wuxia Novelist: A Writer's Blog looks at the broad range of issues encountered by me as a novelist working in the Chinese wuxia (heroic fiction) genre. I have, however, a very broad background and this blog will not narrowly focus on one genre of literature, rather I will consider books, movies, and ideas that relate to my life as a writer. For more information about my background please visit my author's website: www.thedragongateinn.com or www.facebook.com/WuxiaNovelist

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And Up We Go! And a few Movie Comments

It's a bumpy ride to the top (I hope). In May, the Chinese edition of Dream of the Dragon Pool fell to #29 on the publisher's best seller list. However, the great news for June is that it has risen to #17 on that same best seller list! Fingers crossed for the July number, which will appear at the beginning of August.

I've been going through movies for my upcoming Fall East Asian Heroes class at Boston University and am closing in on a final list of movies, which will be revealed on the first day of class. I enjoyed 13 Assassins, but will not be using it in class. I also enjoyed an oldie, The Fate of Lee Kuan, a King Hu classic - I won't be using that one either. Samurai Spy (1965) is amazing for its cinematography and story, but not for my class. And Reign of Assassins is cool, but also not for my class.

This might leave you wondering, "Well, what are his standards for his class?" Since the class is first and foremost a writing class and the movies are our primary source material to consider the nature of the East Asian hero, I'm picking movies that exemplify some aspect of that type of heroism. If I was giving a class in East Asian heroic cinema in a film department, then probably all the movies I mentioned above would be candidates. But I'm not.

I teach within the Boston University Writing Program and our objective is to teach well composed, intelligible forms of academic writing. So the movies I show are the primary source materials that my students use to investigate the nature of the East Asian hero/heroine. Along with each film, there are readings (our secondary sources) that the students will use to support their arguments/theories/claims regarding those primary sources (the movies). Thus when I pick a movie to use within the course it has to represent some aspect of the East Asian heroic tradition and be supported by secondary source materials to assist in the student analysis of the movie.

In early September, when the course starts, I will post my film list on this blog.

Zaijian!

The Innkeeper

5 Comments:

OpenID asaudademedevora said...

Can't wait to see the list! Perhaps there will be some overlap with my own wuxia favorites.

I've been wanting to see Fate of Lee Khan for ages now. How did you manage to catch it?

Samurai Spy is one of the most aesthetically stunning films ever. I also only just recently saw it for the first time, and couldn't believe I hadn't been exposed to it sooner.

And Reign of Assassins was easily the best thing I saw at the 2011 NYC Asian Film Festival. I thought the way the villains were humanized and given a sense of depth was a definite advance within the context of of wuxia cinema.

July 31, 2011 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger The Innkeeper said...

List is coming soon. As soon as I get to see Wu Xia, the new Donnie Yen movie. I've found a great site for buying wuxia movies: kungfuvision.com. I think I got Fate Of Lee Khan there - they have FREE shipping in the US and very good prices. I agree, Samurai Spy was a knockout visually. My problem with Reign of Assassins - I agree with everything you wrote - was the basis for the quest for Bodhidharma's body. You should know what I mean, as I don't want to give the story away. I thought it was plan stupid! Even the actress playing Michelle Yeoh's antagonist said so in the film! Also check out 13 Assassins. Thanks for your comment!

The Innkeeper

July 31, 2011 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Simon McNeil said...

Just actually reviewed Wu Xia over at my blog. Would be interested to see if your take lines up with mine on the film.

August 7, 2011 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger The Innkeeper said...

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your comment. I just saw Wu Xia over the weekend and will do a review at some point - have to deal with my syllabus right now - Wu Xia will not be on it!

The Innkeeper

August 8, 2011 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Simon McNeil said...

Honestly not surprised. The reliance on deus ex machina to drive the plot was a fatal flaw.

Interested to hear what IS on your syllabus though.

August 8, 2011 at 8:21 AM  

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