5 things – Sha Hwang

The brief: Tell us about 5 songs *and/or* films. It could be the ones you think are the greatest. Or that move you most. Or that are under-appreciated. Something along those lines.

The people: Webstock speakers and assorted Webstock people.

Today with Sha Hwang – who’s cheated a little and gone with a double-bill format!

The Fall

The Fall is not a perfect film, but no movie that looks this good should be. It’s a film that defies belief — made over years, largely financed by the director Tarsem, shot in locations all over the world (if you need a bucket list for places to visit, this is it). A labor of love, both of filmmaking and of the staggering beauty of nature, of harsh deserts and ragged mountains.

To be paired with The Fountain,

another equally ambitious and hopelessly flawed film. The film stars work by Peter Parks, who uses macrophotography of particles in liquid to simulate galaxies, space, stars. In his words, “you feel like you’re looking at infinity.


I am a total and complete sucker for Michael Mann movies, and Heat is no exception. It’s a simple cop and robber movie but blown out into epic proportions, soaked in the sun of Los Angeles. For me though, it all comes down to the sound design during the pivotal heist scene. There’s a trend with pop songs getting louder and louder, filling quiet with noise, and movies these days are similar. But in the buildup there is only the barest of scoring, and when the shooting starts, everything shakes (the screenplay apparently reads: World War III ERUPTS). Beautiful.

To be paired with The Dark Knight,

whose opening scene references Heat quite a bit.


And on the complete other end of the spectrum, there’s JCVD, with Jean-Claude Van Damme playing Jean-Claude Van Damme. That’s really all I need to say, right? It’s hilarious, silly, and honestly kind of touching.

To be paired with the trailer for Femme Fatale,

which is the entire film, fastforwarded, another very meta piece of work.


One of my favorite small scale movies, though, is Brick by Rian Johnson. Tight and focused it is a high school neonoir played with a straight face, and through its crackling dialogue it actually works. Not to mention that it features the ever amazing JGL.

To be paired with Chronicle,

another recent genre film set in high school, but with superpowers instead of gumshoes.

25th hour

And finally, 25th Hour. It is, again, not a perfect movie — it’s long and drawn out, a little messy sometimes, but it holds an incredibly special place in my heart. When I first moved to New York in 2007 I watched it the night I got in, and felt nostalgic for a place I didn’t even know yet. And when Rachel and I moved back to New York a few months ago, we watched it together. It’s an incredible portrait of a city, and now, again, it’s home.

To be paired with a long walk through a city you love.