During the Japanese occupation of China, two prisoners are dumped in a peasant’s home in a small town. One is a bellicose Japanese nationalist, the other a nervous translator. Will the townspeople manage to keep the prisoners until the New Year?
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4,5. A lesson in how cinema can and must break into History, giving it different directions according to the narrative and its narration points. Apart from an extraordinary sense of humor, that erodes any possibility of a politically correct view, this is also a sly and artful experience of film editing, creating false counterpoints and improbable tensions.
How audacious of director Jiang to necromance a nation’s humiliation by disparaging the weak naked on screen again 50+ years later, fetishizing human emotions for atrocity while scoring brownie points from hipsters jonesing for more outlandish farcical absurdity in their screwball war epic? Congratulations. Self-deprecation and political cuckholdry achieved. Now savor your honeyed global embrace…lieutenant shithead.
Banned in China, Devils is a brilliant antiwar pic that depicts life in rural China during the Japanese occupation coinciding with WWII. Anamolous Material calls it "darkly farcical and at times incredibly hilarious only to unexpectedly shift ... into gut-wrenching and horrifying irony." Jiang Wen was banned from filmmaking for a number of years, but he's back at it. Hooray! It's a little too long, but Devils rocks.