Friday, September 3, 2010

Three Gun Shots: A Blood Simple Case

If someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I am Li Changdi, I might answer like Louis Jourdan (he was in the 1958 film Gigi) did once in Positano (the Steiny Road Poet was at a table near where he was sitting on that dazzling piazza by the water) -- "I used to be Li Changdi." Now Li Changdi is a little gun shy -- don't point at her and ask her to speak to you in Chinese. She can still say Ni hao (hello) but she's getting nervous about the bloody lot of words she is supposed to have mastered.

The Steiny Road Poet fell off the learning-to-speak-and-write-Chinese wagon back in March after she completed her classroom project which had her represent herself as a Chinese broadcast film critic. This is where this post starts as the reviews are beginning to appear for Zhang Yimou's remake of the first Coen Brothers' film Blood Simple.

In Chinese, Zhang's film is called San Qiang Pai An Jing Qi (translated as The Stunning Case of Three Gunshots). Changdi would tell you that san is the word for three. The American title is A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop.

What was really hard in the classroom film report project was finding out how to say Blood Simple and the Coen brothers in Chinese. Her laoshi (teacher) said find out by yourself. So she called up a neighbor who is from Beijing and got the words: Xue Mi Gong bei Ke en Xiong Di. Changdi guesses that xue means avenge but she has no leads on mi gongXiong Di translates as brothers, so the rest of the phrase is by (bei) the Coen (Ke en) brothers.

Does she want to see Zhang Yimou's film? Yes, because out of all that struggle to say a few simple things in that Chinese film critic report like, "Xiang xiao le ma?" (Do you want to laugh?), she still harbors the idea of learning more Chinese.

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