Thursday, February 2, 2012
A Hero Never Dies Library : Wild Blooms Of Imagination
Complied by the Hong Kong Film Arts Association, Wild Blooms of Imagination : Art Direction in Hong Kong Films, 1979-2001 celebrates the history and work of the Art director in Hong Kong movies. The position of art director was not officially recognised in Hong Kong cinema until William Cheung's work on Patrick Tam's 1981 film Love Massacre, presumably as the producers would have had to pay more! The importance of art direction in Hong Kong film cannot be underestimated, given the low budgets the movies were often made with. It was up to the art director to give the feel of a higher budget, something they invariably performed miracles with, giving every dollar spent multiple times it's value. The book covers a wide range of movies within three categories, Beauty in Styles, Beauty in Realism and Beauty in Martial Arts and Action, and highlights just how important this work was in the world of Hong Kong cinema.
Each movie has between two to six pages dedicated to it with words from the director, cinematographer and of course the art director along with plenty of photos and sketches to highlight the comments. My only criticism of the book is that I would have loved much more detail as the information here is fascinating.
Wild Bloom's does what all good film books should do, and that is to make you want to revisit the films featured with a fresh perspective, so you see them in a whole new light. Considering the range of classic Hong Kong movies featured, if that isn't a high enough recommendation, I don't know what is.