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| Sunday, February 27, 2005

Unveiling a prestigious new film award. Because even cruddy flicks can have their surprisingly cool moments.

Scorsese is up for another Oscar, same with Hilary Swank and Leonardo DiCaprio. zzzzz.. wha!? Oh excuse me, must have dozed off there for a moment. There weren't many surprises in the recent Academy Award nominations. But these days, surprises are hard to come by. If you leave out the thornier questions of quality and awards at all, some of the best film experiences you can have are the ones in which you have no expectations. You haven't read any reviews, you haven't seen any trailers, you haven't watched clips on Entertainment Tonight or been inundated with countless ads.

Many films will never be the belle of the ball on Oscar night, but they still deserve a little recognition. This being the season of awards ceremonies -- the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Razzies -- perhaps we can add one more contender to the pack, the Tyeeies. Breaking away from the Hollywood formula of best actor, best adapted screenplay, etcetera., these awards will reward those odd little details that stay with you long after the film itself has ended -- those little surprises that add up to the joy of cinema.

Best Use of Foreign Food in a Foreign Film

Sometimes the best thing about foreign films is the foreign food, whether it's drinking Gazpacho in Pedro Almodavar's films, eating sweet buns in Shaolin Soccer, or, in the case of Infernal Affairs (Wu Jian Dao 2002) drinking bottled green tea. Food often plays an incidental role in the plot itself, but it the crucial little details that add up to the experience of another time and place.

The runner up is Infernal Affairs, the Hong Kong gang buster currently being remade by Scorsese, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Walhberg. Infernal is full of foody bits like Andy Lau gesturing at a fellow police officer to give him a drink by making the universal tippling motion, or the sequence where he arrives at the police station and is offered a cup of coffee by his fellow policemen, which signals his acceptance into their ranks. Whether it's the mafia boss eating his take-out dinner in the police station, or the heart stopping scene where the dueling moles, one cop, one robber, try to undo each other, while drinking copious amounts of green tea, Infernal Affairs makes you wish you were there rather than here. Part of that has to do with food. I'm not quite sure why, but like Mr. Proust was heard to say, "Give me a goddamn madeleine before I shoot your ass off," or something like that.

news from: The Tyee