Film Days

Nicholas Quirke was treating himself to some relaxation time and was getting in some trips to the cinema and by 29 October 2020 he had been to the movies twice and in the process broadened his knowledge of Chinese culture and history. His failure to see the classic films at the archive had given him a desire to get to the cinema and on the 27 October after having cleaned the flat, he treated himself to seeing ‘Leap’ a biographical film about the ups and downs of the Chinese female Volleyball team’s from 1979 to the 2016 Olympics and starring the incomparable Gong li and the charming Huang Bo. He was seeing it at the local cinema where he had witnessed a fight which, had interrupted the screening and he hoped there would not be a repeat. He was initially diss appointed as the film was screened without english subtitles and he felt a little alienated from the more subtle conversational moments in the film, but the story was clear and both touching and inspiring. He walked home and the drop in temperature felt very significant and though he had only just got himself a pair of new trousers , rotating two pairs did not seem enough to combat the chill of the mornings and evenings that Beijing was now experiencing and he decided that he would go to Gap the next day and get a new pair of the tartan lined chinos he had had to dispose of. On 28 October 2020 he searched for the nearest Gap and set out to the New World Mall. He had decided that he would have tea, buy trousers, do some preparation work for his teaching and see a film before meeting Peng for supper. The day did not pan out as he had expected. As he cycled to the mall he enjoyed a conversation with his friend Jazon in the Phillipines. Once there he was unable to I find the trousers he wanted but did buy a pair of Burgandy strides for a bargain £9. He set up shop in the window of Sisphye Bookstores cafe where he spent the next few hours drinking green tea. To his surprise there were a few customers who just sat in the chairs, without drinks and slept. He was messaged by the school that lessons were cancelled for Friday due to an inspection and an impending change of premises. He was struggling with the internet and somehow the day was eaten up in the cafe and he missed the film. He took a walk round the block and even tried another cafe but the technology was not playing his way and finally he gave up and by 5pm was cycling to the restaurant. They had eaten there before, the day he had met with an accident on his bike but the Mala Xiangguo style, with tofu and lotus root and other veg was delicious. They walked home and of course watched a genuinely creepy horror film from taiwan, ‘Ghost bridge’ before bed. He had hoped to see ‘The Sacrifice’ but missed the opportunity and instead this became his plan for 29 October as he wasn’t going to be teaching. he walked to a cinema in a mall south of the apartment which he had not been to before and was surprised to find that the seating was not socially distanced anymore and he was actually sitting next to someone. The film was the depiction from the Chinese perspective of a seminal moment in the Korean War when Chinese tenacity gave them an upper hand in their support of North Korea. It was a strange experience to see a tale of bravery and resilience of a war in which his own father had participated in some small part. It was cleverly constructed and ultimately very moving. He was immersing himself in China’s patriotism and propaganda but the well constructed and beautifully told stories were worth the elements of indoctrination that were espoused. To counteract this the evening entertainment was the puzzling and surreal Spanish movie ‘The Advantages of Travelling by Train. This surfeit of movies was not beginning to pall and he was already looking at what he would see the next week as Lin, from the film archive had sent him the November list. With the stories whirring around in his head he found it difficult go sleep and took the opportunity to finally overcome the tech issues he had experienced and publish his blog


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