Reporters on the Job

When You Can't Read the Fine Print: Chinese film director Zhang Yimou has had a hard time replicating the success of his first international hit film, "Hero," and his latest effort has met with almost universal thumbs down. Apart from the more revealing aspects of the film ( see story), the movie's relentlessly golden color scheme has drawn criticism. Staff writer Peter Ford shared the critics' reservations, but for less artistic reasons.

"I cannot understand dialogue in Mandarin yet," Peter says, "so I was obliged to follow the subtitles when I watched 'Curse of the Golden Flower.' " With the screen almost always bright yellow, the subtitles were generally illegible, making the plot virtuallyincomprehensible. I did not watch until the end."

Nonstop Religious Action: Correspondent David Montero had never seen Shiite observances of Muharram (the holiest month for Shiites) before, and wasn't prepared for the intensity it would require ( see story). "From the moment I stepped off the plane in Multan, it was nonstop action. I've never done all my reporting while running around an entire city in the midst of religious prayer. We'd walk, talk to some people, then walk or run to the next place," says David, adding that he had to navigate huge crowds of people, horses, and men whipping their backs with blades. "I had great hosts, three Shiites from the area, who were overly concerned that I see what I needed to," Montero says. "They packed in a lot. I was exhausted."

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Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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