Had a brief run after its release in Hong Kong's cinemas in 2006 and then - as few had seen it - was a surprise as scooped prizes at recent 26th Hong Kong Film Awards. No surprise for those that had viewed it - flawed yes, but a totally absorbing movie by Hong Kong cinema-master, Patrick Tam. This was his first movie in 15 years and it depicts life turned upside-down for all the characters involved - filmed in the ennui-heat of northern Malaysia, but, oddly, reeks of Hong Kong.
I have always loved Edward Gorey's work: pen and ink illustrated short stories or wordless sequenced illustrations. Gothic and surreal; macabre and thoughtful: a master of line drawing and the (often horror-laden) implied reference. 'Amphigorey' is a compilation book (or compendium?) or omnibus of his best, including 'The West Wing', 'The Hapless Child', 'The Doubtful Guest' & 'The Unstrung Harp' etc. Edward Gorey former house in Yarmouth, Cape Cod USA is now a museum dedicated to his legacy.
Michael Mantler - 'The Hapless Child' (jazz album)
This 1976 album inspired by Edward Gorey's work is a sparse, direct, brooding (Wyatt's voice) interpretation of Gorey stories composed by Michael Mantler and featuring musicians: Robert Wyatt, Terje Rypdal, Carla Bley and Jack DeJohnette. Bands Tiger Lilies and the Kronos Quartet have also done work inspired by Gorey.
A damning exploration of the Allied occupation of Italy after the fall of Mussolini - brilliantly written by this often-overlooked writer and required reading for all who wish to invade a country! His trilogy of books about Asia, published in the 1950s, with subtle and ironic observations are sublime and essential reading.
'Dirty Music' (2001) is superbly written, provocative and disturbing and will soon be filmed by Philip Noyce - read it before it is! Tim Winton is one of the best contemporary English-language writers working today - his 'The Turning' (2005) tackles similar themes and is also set in the isolated towns of Western Australia's southern coastline.