In the mystical province of Guizhou, there is a small county clinic surrounded by fog. At the Kaili clinic, there are two doctors who live quiet, lonely lives. One of the doctors, Chen Sheng, embarks on a journey by train to find his nephew, who had been abandoned by his brother.
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Bi Gan’s non-linear moving images (I wouldn’t call it a film just now) are a fascinating example of Daniel Frampton’s filmmind. His images are free floating, The film moves to wherever it wants to move. Past, present, future – it all seems to be one.
One looping shot, reflecting a Buddhist view of the universe as an endless cycle of life, death, and reincarnation, adds to the film’s hallucinatory aura, as does a trippy, ethereal score by Lim Giong (a frequent collaborator of Jia Zhangke and Hou Hsiao-hsien). Bi Gan directed this boldly original debut feature.
Gan Bi has gone hunting for very big game indeed. His principal subjects are, well, space and time. Kaili Blues immediately struck me as a work of art tailor made for French philosophers. Bergson is all over this thing. Thus Deleuze. And I cannot help but feel like we really need to hear what the the two remaining big guns, Jacques Rancière and Alain Badiou, would have to say. Kind of loose, but totally fascinating.
A melancholy dreamscape of fractured memories and pseudo-travelogues. The film's magic is muted, but it's there. The winding continuous shot will be what most people remember, and it's really quite impressive (I loved the sequence where the camera floated through a back alley to catch up to the motorcycle). Bi Gan certainly asks for the audience's patience, but the accumulative effect feels bold and original.
A direct and legitimate heir of the best Jia Zhangke, "Unknown Pleasures" and "Still Life": the rescue of the people of miserable China (also Wang Bing echoes) that goes through an endless drift of figurative and narrative cinema's abilities. In the section of Chen Sheng's journey, the huge sequence-shot, central in this narrative block, is one of the most impressive achievements of contemporary cinema.
[Review] 79/100 - Kaili Blues (Gan Bi, China)
The film’s tender spirit is to capture and convey the tiny moments found in the everyday.
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Towards the end of the film Chen says ‘it’s like being in a dream’. a singl line of dialogue that makes all that comes before it so consequential. pure poetic cinema, tarkovsky would be proud!! I cried during the final shot