Bil Browning

A Grab Bag Contest

Filed By Bil Browning | July 11, 2011 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Contests
Tags: Christopher Yuan, Eric Poole, Helmut Berger, Il Dio Chiamato Dorian, Oscar Wilde

grab-bag-retro.jpgSometimes I get items in the mail that aren't huge prizes, but it's fun to save them up and offer them as a grab bag contest. This week we've got three items in the prize chest and you can have all of them by leaving a comment on this post.

Up for grabs this time:

  • 1 copy of Il Dio Chiamato Dorian, the classic Italian version of The Secret of Dorian Gray, on DVD. Starring Helmut Berger in the starring role, this cult classic from the 1970s also features a groovy score by Giuseppe De Luca.
  • 1 autographed copy of Eric Poole's novel, Where's My Wand: One Boy's Magical Triumph Over Alienation and Shag Carpeting. You might remember Eric from his recent guest post, "5 Tips to Make It Better Now." If you're an Augusten Burroughs fan, you'll definitely want this book.
  • 1 copy of the new book, Out of a Far Country, by Christopher and Angela Yuan. This book about Chinese immigrant parents and their gay son is heavily Christian and I've never been quite sure if it ends up anti-gay or not. The kid becomes a minister after going through all the stereotypical negative queer experiences, but seems to advocate for "holy sexuality" instead of "heterosexuality." Take this one for what it's worth.

So how can you win? Just leave a comment telling us what your favorite foreign flick is and why. Contest rules are after the break.

Here's the deets we're legally required to tell you.

  • Contest ends at Noon Eastern on Wednesday, July 13.
  • The most original and entertaining comment will win the prize package.
  • No purchase is necessary to win.
  • Winners will be chosen by Dr. Jillian Weiss.

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Ang Lee's "The Wedding Banquet" was technically a co-production between Taiwan and the US, but I loved it. It reflected a lot of my own concerns coming out to my parents, even though the setting was almost a decade apart from when I revealed my sexuality.

It displays Lee's typical sense of humor, but also had stunning dramatic moments from the entire cast. It acknowledges sexual flexibility, non-diadic parenting arrangements, and the transition from older generations to new ones, showing that they are not rigid and divided, which was refreshing to see. Still, it's not naive--it's firmly rooted in reality. Things don't work out perfectly, but it shows that ultimately--as in life--things still work out somehow. The movie was progressive, too, depicting an Asian man in the US, a career man, and a non-demure, independent, Asian woman. Some of my favorite moments are WeiWei's interactions with Wai Tung's mother, especially after the fall out of the wedding ceremony.

It's also unique, as it seems to be the one piece of gay media my parents acknowledge, because they will watch anything made by Ang Lee. So during a time when they refused to talk about my sexual identity, and even now are made a bit uncomfortable by it, broaching the topic of The Wedding Banquet is a godsend. It frames the issue of sexual identity in a context they can identify with and understand.

When I watch it, I feel nostalgia for my parents, my family, and the traditions with which I was raised. The joy, the celebrations, and the love reflect my own experiences, and it gives me hope that my own folks will come around in time. Great movie!

My favourite foreign film is 'Fucking Åmål' directed by Lukas Moodysson. It's the story of two teen-aged girls -- one popular and one a loner -- who get together after the popular Elin is issued a dare to kiss the unpopular Agnes.

My favorite foreign movie is Steam: The Turkish Bath. Francesco's aunt leaves him a hamam. In the process of making arrangements for its sale, he is captivated by the culture of the hamam. The aunt was what can only be described as an Italian Auntie Mame. It is a story of living life on one's own terms, and accepting what can be the heavy cost. The film is good story telling. It is intimately photographed giving one a palpable sense of place.

Rachel Bellum | July 11, 2011 7:09 PM

My favorite foreign (non-US) movie is Seven Samurai directed by Akira Kurosawa. In fact, while I calll it the second best movie ever (behind Citizen Kane), it is my personal favorite. Besides being gorgeous and a defining piece of film history, there is one scene that's really good for explaining why this film stands out. There is a scene where an archer on the ground is firing arrows at people riding through a village on horseback. In this black and white film you see the arrow fly and hit a rider in the back. The rider's head and arms are exposed with only a shirt covering his back. The "actor" who fires the arrow was actually a master of Japanese archery. He really shot an arrow at the actor on horseback and the arrow landed in a block of wood strapped to the riders back. This bit of the movie goes by so fast that few people even realize it happens. Everyone associated with the film was at the top of their profession and it shows.

That's so cool! I never knew that!

Arrogant Oriole | July 12, 2011 12:44 AM

In film class last semester, we studied French New Wave films.
I couldn't get enough of "Breathless."
The jump cuts keeping you on your toes, the jazzy music score, Michel and Patricia's relationship, just... the whole thing. X3

[The few minutes we saw of "Band of Outsiders" was great as well, but I haven't seen that yet.]

Nothing like a good summer read! And this is multiple great summer reads from what I've read.

Ellynwithay | July 13, 2011 9:05 AM

Entre Nous with Miou-Miou and Isabelle Huppert was one of the most eye-opening films for me in the 80s. It's a deeply moving story, but the relationship between the two women was allowed to unfold before you--as only French films can do--and it forever left me with the desire to be a 40-year-old French woman. Yum!

The Triplets of Belleville. Its an animated French flick about Tour de france-type bicyclists who are kidnapped by shady gangster types and the grandma who, along with her dog and the above-mentioned, down-on-their-luck triplets (a former musical sensation) stops at nothing to get her grandson back from the clutches of the gangsters.

I'm torn. Two of my favorite foreign films are these, with reasons:

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and......Spring. The story of a floating monastery in the mountains of Korea run by a lone old monk who has a baby delivered to him. The metaphor for the continuation of life despite everything, along with the scenery, is just inspiring!

Kung Fu Hustle. The is a Chinese spoof of gangster and martial arts films by Stephen Chow. To me, the main character represents the search for truth in one's own life and how the acquisition of that sets you free.

Cinema Paradiso, it's one of the first foreign flicks I've ever seen and if you're a sucker for a tear-jerker with a great storyline, this one won't disappoint!