The fact that there are now signs of growing diversity in style, theme and approach in Chinese independent fiction film is clear from the first film by the versatile Wu Quan. In contrasty, very sharp black-and-white (shot by cameraman Zhang Yuedong, who directed the minimalist-absurdist Mid-Afternoon Barks), Sentimental Animal is a meticulously styled, occasionally sensitive and sometimes shocking allegory that will not easily be forgotten.
Wu has made a film about the latter days of a Chinese patriarch. This former soldier and owner of the fish farm where the events take place became physically handicapped after a heroic deed. Although he can no longer speak and needs help from his nurse for virtually all his actions, he is still the respected leader of his clan. But now he is approaching his end and takes on his last, difficult task. –Rotterdam