Monthly ArchiveFebruary 2007
Books newlight on 28 Feb 2007
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
by Xiaolu Guo
I have to admit I didn’t read the whole book. I borrowed a copy from my friend but only had enough time to have a quick glance. I read the beginning when the protagonist Zhuang Xiaoqiao is on a plane to the UK, some bits in the middle, including an excerpt appeared on The Times, and the last several pages. So this is not a review, rather my impression on this book.
The plot is simple. Zhuang Xiaoqiao, a young woman comes to the UK to study English, with little knowledge of the country, and the language. She meets an artist in London. They becomes lovers and she moves into his flat in the rough side of London. She explores the culture, language, and sex through him. She feels increasingly lost when she knows better about the English (in the broad sense) and decides to go back to China. The circle ends. The story is narrated solely from the Zhuang Xiaoqiao’s point of view, using a dictionary-like structure, hence the book title.
Watching Movie newlight on 24 Feb 2007
I’m very proud of the fact that I had watched Fei Mu‘s 1948 masterpiece Spring in a Small Town (小城之春) in cinema. I can’t help keeping telling my friends at every opportunity that how I watched it with excitement, how I love this film and how I fell for the leading actress instantly. My friends probably have been tired of my bragging, half of them having no faintest idea what I talked about.
I watched Spring in a Small Town Hong Kong, during a retrospective of Fei Mu’s work held in Hong Kong Arts Centre in mid-90s. That was a rare event, because this movie disappeared from the public sight after initial release in Shanghai and was only re-discovered in 80′s, which makes it extremely difficult to locate a copy. The copy I watched was in excellent condition though. After the screening,
I approached Fei Ming Yi, the master’s daughter and one of the organisers of the retrospective, asking her where she got the copy. She said she borrowed it from Beijing Film Archive and, certainly used her influence to get the deal, had to ‘garantee the return on my life’. Afterwards, I always take it as a badget of honour as being in that cosy small theatre that evening.