I have mixed feelings about this film. I enjoyed it, but I also felt let down at the end. While technically brilliant, poetic, and philosophically challenging, the long take actually dissolves the narrative at certain points (and the lens seems askew at others). Perhaps this is to show us that life occurs entirely in the present, and we create internal movies from our memories (and daydreams) to make sense of it all.
"Bi has grabbed hold of the searching, remorseful component of noir and let the rest else slip away.... Mixing the mundane and the mystical... this is the journey of a mind haunted by loss, abandonment, and regret. It wouldn’t come as a shock if any given scene were revealed to be a dream sequence; it’s a sign of serious poetic temperament that none of them are." - Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club. 3.5 stars
The magic of Gan Bi’s film is its ability to capture moments of mystical and timeless beauty encountered in both city and countryside. The realms of dream and reality, past and present, perception and memory overlap each other throughout. The long central take unveils an intimate sense of a place where the old and the new are mingled and we are reminded that cinema as poetry takes us beyond narrative structures.
Of course the tracking shot is amazing but the world that is built here is ephemeral. Slow cinema that seems to understand why it's slow and why its the only way to tell this story. My only problem is that the movie starts even slower. You have to acclimate to the pacing but if you do you'll enjoy this piece.
"Led by performances imbued with barely concealed sorrow, regret and longing to come to terms with that which has been lost, “Kaili Blues” affords a view of people, and a nation, caught in between a haunting yesterday and — as implied by the film’s conclusion — a hopeful tomorrow."
Although I definitely appreciate the ambition of this film's celebrated long-take, the execution was amateur in a way that I found too distracting and ultimately purposeless. Incidentally, do any of the more technical mubi-heads out there know why the image seemed to kind of wobble or flap as though projected on a curtain in the wind at some points?
Un hombre en búsqueda/rescate de un familiar. Será una suerte de redención y reconciliación con su pasado. ¿Qué lo hace interesante? El director crea un paralelismo de tiempos, y además lo hace ambiguo. Por momentos vemos al protagonista encontrándose con personajes que parecen ser remembranzas de su pasado, pero también posibilidades. Hay además una temporalidad presente, documental, literal en un plano secuencia.
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.