I'm sitting on Silvia's bed grading papers thinking about getting ready to meet a potential student for lunch. It's a bright day today with lots of various allergens dancing in the air. Yesterday I bought a very tiny azalea with small, bright pink flowers... it's nice to really be able to feel the seasons. (This is fairly literal, since my chest is congested and I'm allergic to nearly everything outside, I think.)
A few nights ago Masa and I saw the movie 东 ("Dong") by贾樟柯 (Jia Zhang Ke) at the Italian Embassy and also sat through messy translations of the director's responses to questions from the audience. Zhang Ke is possibly the most acclaimed mainland director among a more arthouse crowd, and has made movies such as "Xiao Wu," "The World" and "Unknown Pleasures." 东 follows the travels of an artist, 刘小东 (Liu Xiao Dong) as he paints migrant workers and prostitutes while he tries to defend the idea of the artist understanding "common people." Dong seems to trap himself in this classic, stereotypical artist dilemma: an attempt to understand which eventually leads to self-delusion. Worth seeing.