It’s time for February’s Fork and a Flick Friday and with all the events that are approaching next week I thought I would change things up a bit. Monday, February 8th is Chinese New Year and it is the year of the monkey. If you are brave, try indulging in a Chinese delicacy, such as monkey brain, like Indie did in the original Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Don’t worry, I won’t be sharing a recipe for monkey brain here and I’m not so sure I could ever go as far out of the box as that.
What I will do in honor of Chinese New is a roundup of some of the best flicks that I think would be great to set the mood for the holiday. Most people celebrate with family dinners and gifts and it is a celebration of the coming of Spring. Many towns have spectacular fireworks and parades as well as film festivals. Here is my pick of films to have your own film festival during this Chinese New Year:
Joy Luck Club
This is a 1993 film based on Amy Tan’s bestselling novel. In San Francisco, a group of aging Chinese women meet regularly to trade familial stories while playing Mahjong. The life histories of these four Asian women and their daughters reflect and guide each other.
Eat Drink Man Woman
This is an Ang Lee film that gives a tasty cinematic treat. In this generational comedy Senior Master Chef Chu lives in a large house in Taipei with his three unmarried daughters. Life in the house revolves around the ritual of an elaborate dinner each Sunday, and the love lives of all the family members.
Kung Fu Panda
With Kung Fu Panda 3 being released right alongside Chinese New Year this year, it is the perfect time to catch up on the original with the kids. In the Valley of Peace, Po the Panda finds himself chosen as the Dragon Warrior despite the fact that he is obese and a complete novice at martial arts.
Another film to watch with the kids and give them a bit of Chinese culture is Mulan. It’s based on the legendary Hua Mulan, a woman warrior from the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420–589) of China who was originally described in a ballad known as the Ballad of Mulan. In this Disney film, to save her father from death in the army, Mulan secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China’s greatest heroines in the process.
In The Mood For Love
Set in 1962 Hong Kong at a time of Chinese cultural revolution and the modernization of Hong Kong, delicately mannered and visually extravagant, Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments. Released in 2000 after the 1997 Hong Kong handover, Wong Kar-wai directs this moody period drama about unrequited love that swoons with romantic melancholy. The film centers on two young couples who rent adjacent rooms in a cramped and crowded tenement. Chow Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite—until a discovery about their spouses creates an intimate bond between them. With its aching musical soundtrack and exquisitely abstract cinematography by Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-bin, this film has been a major stylistic influence on the past decade of cinema.