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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Video Collection

Or what was left of it...

My apologies to the younger generation born in the era of DVDs; you may not know what I'm talking about here. Before there were DVDs, there was VHS. Movies came in the form of tapes, which needed rewinding & forwarding. And if you keep them too long in a moist environment, they will grow bacteria, microscopic mushrooms & toadstools. If you're lucky enough, they might even flower.

I even bought myself the top of the line video player at that time. It had 6 playheads man!
It even had a jog shuttle which allowed you to forward/rewind right down to the single frame! But this baby really hurt me good. It cost me about RM1,300 at that time. This was pure self-gratification, and I had to go back to my Maggi noodle diet for a while.

Because I studied film in the States, and because I was coming home to teach film, and because you can't find these films at home, I bootlegged around 70 films, and bought the rest in original. I think I lugged back around 100 films in my suitcase in total (It could have been close to 150). The immigration department just let me through cos I looked like what a Malaysian student should look like back then; scrawny student on a Maggi noodle diet, living on my parents hard-earned money (for Chinese students).

Last year, I decided that DVD was here to stay. No, actually the strongest contender was that most of the films that I needed for teaching are now available on YouTube. Yes, you've got that right. Now, I'm not talking about the recent Hollywood blockbuster like Pirates or Avatar. I'm talking about the classics. I'm talking about films which all film students have to watch. All these now were on YouTube. And that made me rethink about my video collection, which was taking up a lot of space.

So eventually last year, with a heavy heart, I decided to clear my inventory. Here's what I threw away (basically everything except my limited anime collection):

                                                                 The Alfred Hitchcocks

The Hollywood Classics that all film students must know. If you don't, then you'd better start thinking about doing something else, like accounting or engineering or medicine.

Orson Welles & Noir

Uhh... where did Shirley Temple come from? Some people believed that she was really a midget in disguise.

Frenchy Films (Poetic Realism & New Wave)


The Three Colours Trilogy. This was art.

Italian Neorealism

German Expressionism

Japanese classics (Ozu, Mizoguchi, Kurosawa)

Japanese New Wave


Satyajit Ray

And before YouTube, there was Astro, from which these collection came from: 

What kept my VHS going for so long then was a secret weapon that I had. This baby cleaned tapes like a car wash.
VHS came in around the 70s, VCDs in the 90s, and now its been DVDs & BluRays. Next we'd be downloading movies from the internet into our heads. By then, we'd need RAM implants.