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I went to see Zatoichi over the weekend. It is a modern Japanese interpretation of a a series within the Japanese Chambara tradition of films. Zatoichi is similar to the ‘One Armed Swordsman’ of Hong Kong cinema or Django in the spaghetti western genre.
The new version of Zatoichi is much more than an action movie, there are well developed characters and sub-plots and a surreal but effective dance motif that runs throughout the film. Highly recommended viewing.
This also brings me on to a more serious matter. The key to stopping employment migration to cheaper countries according to globalisation ‘experts’ is the creative sectors – at its crudest – foreigners (sic) can work but they can’t innovate. Wrong, wrong – very wrong indeed. The two best films that I have seen this year have come from Asia – (Infernal Affairs – a Hong Kong film with a twisting plot worthy of The Usual Suspects and Zatoichi).
A recent edition of Creative Business (the FT’s media and marketing supplement) highlighted the number of creative teams in London’s top ad agencies that hail from Thailand and South America. The Halifax (a UK bank) has shot many of its television advertisements at a Bollywood studio to keep costs down and domestic electronics firms in China like Haier and Ningbo Bird are giving both Nokia and Motorola mobile phones a pasting in product design and innovation. The market share loss in China is a source of embarrassment for Nokia, more information on this can be found in this Wired Magazine article link. If we are not careful we could find the creative industries going the way of back office and IT jobs. I have posted a bit more about this on AlwaysOn (free registration may be required).
Mixed news on the Apple front, some good – some bad. Someone has developed a proof-of-concept trojan horse for MacOS X to stop MacEvangelists being so smug. OpenOSX have released a free (as in beer) antidote. Mini iPod users have been complaining of cracking sound on the new devices – not exactly cool and the bargain basement eMac has been given a much needed upgrade (however its still really, really bulky).