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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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). Gan Bi 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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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.
returning/searching as a form of past+dreams+desires which happen now, and you know I mean *NOW* now, especially during that meditative 42-minute-long shot right at the center of it. cinematic poetry unlike Malick and like an Apichatpong character who play himself, the protagonist here is really the 26-year-old first-time director's uncle and his words are truly his own. this is the future of film.
Gan Bi fractures time in this mind-bending film. Disentangling the narrative is hard work (and I don't yet have half of it straight) but there is something fascinating about the way the film treats time—hours passing in seconds via superimposed clocks or shadows cast on a wall, but also the passage of time shown for what it really is in the film's vaunted one-long-take moment. An impressively inscrutable debut.
Objects feel so humble on bare minimal walls. Objects so out of place that the interiors became so beautiful. The camera movement never stops following the movement. Movement reflected in non-moving objects. Objects in movement. Waterscapes/dreamscapes/cityscapes. Fantastic folkloristic tales. Ghost tales. Appeasing the dead. Can time be recuperated?