Culture, Global trade

Finding Laszlo de Almasy in Hong Kong, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Globalization

One more thing about Hong Kong. Causeway Bay along Lockhart Road is a veritable minefield for film lovers. I discovered this little bit of info during the last few days I was there (and it’s been a month since), and now I so regret not having been able to buy more videos (of course, I also had to forego more breakfasts, ouch).

As I was picking out vcds one night there, I began thinking about our very own film lovers’ minefield in Quiapo, and how gradually art films (or simply, good films) are being eased out of Quiapo pirates’ stores to make way for pirated copies of blockbuster Hollywood films. The film piracy industry, after all, is still governed by the laws of supply and demand (Erap was right in wanting it amended, hahaha), it will only be a matter of time before pirates realize art films don’t sell shit among costumers.

As it is, copies of some films that before one can easily find in Quiapo are now nowhere to be found. (I reviewed previous blog entries and found one about having spotted a pirated copy of Francois Truffaut’s seminal film The 400 Blows. About a month after writing that entry, I searched for it again in Arlegui and failed.) Jerry Bruckheimer and triple-x porn are gradually easing out Francois Ozon and Gaspar Noe from pirates’ stands. Soon, the promise of a “cultural revolution” via video piracy will be betrayed by pirates’ good’ole desire for heftier profits.

Which brings me back to HK and the massive anti-WTO protests held there. I was shopping for vcds in between covering the protests and did not feel an ounce of guilt that I was reaping the fruits of globalization (i.e. availability Western art films in a cosmopolitan city built on “free market” values) while covering and even praising the anti-globalization movement. After all, I said to myself, just because vcd copies of Truffaut’s The 400 Blows and Jules and Jim, Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove and Minghella’s The English Patient are available in HK does not mean that HK capitalists are more interested in broadening the Chinese masses’ apprectiation for quality films.

In capitalism, profit is the bottomline. Everything else is just coincidence.

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