China Not China by Richard Tuohy and Dianna Barrie was a fantastic cinematic experience. The film was a clever and mesmerizing experience for the viewer. The music was slowly changing and the film had the perception of modern urban life. There was abstract art throughout the film. For me, the music in the film wasn't good though and I didn't get much of an emotional response from the movie.
I liked it very much! Its style, edition and montage are like "China: a trippy and psychedelic symphony of the country" where a lot frames from day to night (I guess from the same spot but at different moments) are superimposed together to create a great, avant-garde and hypnotic short!
I guess the main point of this is to be watched in a very specific physical state. Dreamy, ghostly moving lights that are reminiscent of fireflies. Ethereal music. At the end of the day, not much more than an experimental technical gimmick, that could be reused elsewhere but that doesn’t elicit that much on its own, as is.
The movie inhabits the space between the recognizable and the abstract, a limbo between the distance of a strange perspective and the closeness of a impressionistic one. The fantasmagoric objects are completely absorbed by the flow of a constant movement; humans and vehicles go on their ways to nowhere, lights float beautifully; everything is swallowed by the atmosphere, fading in front of a unshakable comtemplation.
A hypnotic exploration of urban density, the feeling of being somewhere or something but not quite, and just the sense of modern, city life. Cars, lights and people float around like ghosts in the film, slowly but surely getting to their location but utterly indefinite and vague amongst the dizzying crowd of action. And if these images aren't you definition of beautiful, then the film is also a great nap film.
It is always exciting to come across work that explores the potential of the moving image beyond the narrow strictures of narrative and Tuohy and Barrie’s film does occasionally produce images of scintillating beauty. The multiple exposure technique, though intriguing (more post than in-camera, I suspect, not that it matters) is barely developed however and tending towards the monotony of the (uncredited) soundtrack.
A pure cinematic experience with psychedelic sensory delights. I got a sense of the temporality and insignificance of your story in the world. We're so small within the whole and trying to break from its harmony is contradictory. The film ends with what seems like humans vanishing, then becoming stars/meteor stream, but even these lights go out. What is our time on this earth in relation to a galaxy burning out?
CHINA NOT CHINA, is an abstract geo-political sketch (a very fine-drawn one) of China’s milieu. Transmogrifying urban superimpositions of Hong-Kong and Taiwan, faultlessly portray the transience of territories. This would make an infallible experimental double-bill with James Edmonds’ A Return, considering the fact that both these spiritual cousins were made using multiple exposures to spawn an intermingling effect.
Definitely works for me as a video-art piece. I wanted to go through this and compare it with my southwest China experience, having lived there for 5 months... it got me in a way. If I close my eyes I can feel a bit of that place, one buried within my memories in a way it's more a feeling than a recollection. China not China. And yet it still is.