This film is epic. The formally strict way with which Shengze is doing the film has not made her a detached distant observer. On the contrary, she has been able to achieve this very calm, gentle, yet intimate gaZe. She also doesn't try to invisibilise the camera - which is great. Hats off.
Fascinating 13-part look at a Chinese family, month by month. Each month being shot from a different camera angle inside their home. Each segment set around a meal in the family's life. Static camera gives us a complete voyeur look into each scene. No judgement or commentary, just viewing the events that take place. Kind of fascinating. Too long by far, but still really intriguing.
A pretty cool idea for a movie - watch, observe and live with these people. It's almost like a museum piece. It is beautiful to look at and a true slice of life. Kudos to the filmmakers who recognize there are myriad ways to make a film. It is an antidote to the manipulations of global commerical cinema for sure, but can be challenging. Patiently voyeuristic - it can be watched over a period of time, I think,
Glad I was able to watch this in my own home periodically over several days, and not all at once in a theater (which might have been difficult). I read another reviewer compare to Vermeer, and agree. Am curious to know how the filming was arranged with the family? - and how it affected them? Fascinated by their situation/patience. This film will stick in my mind for years, pretty sure.
I'm not done with this. I keep stopping and coming back. It's kind of fucking killing me. I think there's a sort of durational passthrough or transport into the being of the family, which maybe is that epic moment. The grandmother is a kind of "without which there is nothing."
It's as if nowadays we're not used anymore for a movie to actually take its time. For the first hour or so, it seems to be going nowhere. By the end of it, however, a year had passed, and I was totally captivated by the lives I'd watched and all the small things implicit, left unsaid in this family.