Hard to say which is more rigorous and unfussily refined--the shot-making or the face-making. The sound design deserves a shout-out too, riddled as it is with restless whispers, chatter from windswept trees, worrying wives and routine-addled functionaries. Ma has everything in place for a film that Old Stone--which settles into a conventional tale of guileless decency crushed by protocol--never quite becomes.
Digital. Premiered without critical comment only in one theatre and with a single daily projection, this is the best movie on exhibition at the moment. Raw parable about contemporary China, with a formality similar to that of Wang Bing in his documentaries: a camera that follows and "kinestisa" which is of the order of loss and chaos. In the protagonist, Chen Gang's underacting is absolutely astounding.
un film a tesi su come la fine del capitalismo generi mostri disposti a perdere qualsiasi umanità pur di salvare se stessi. Un debutto categorico fin'oltre le estreme conseguenze, solido nonostante qualche stridore (alle volte un uso del digitale troppo spinto), nel complesso interessante
Much that has that guerilla rush. Comes w/ shooting yr subversive movie on the Mainland. Gots to keep it on the down-low. So, yeah: great location work. And a totally great lead actor. Dude's amazing. There is something Hong Kong about the sensibility. But, again, pure Mainland execution. Really, I think the dealing of the character a bum rap is overdone. And the ending is a disaster. But definitely some good stuff.
A conventional revenge tale, steeped heavily in the chaos and cacophony of busy Chinese streets. Great pacing, with a great lead that we genuinely feel for - a treat in revenge cinema. Lao Shi's bureaucratic mess is a product of his own compassion and stubbornness. The film ponders - is that something to be punished? At times it plays out like a Chinese response to Blue Ruin. Tense, restrained, meditative, violent.
Another contribution to the recent trend of cinema highlighting institutional woes, 'Old Stone' is a tidy if conventional drama. The stylistic flourishes work best, and everything progresses nicely until the messy ending which becomes unnecessarily violent. Interested to see what Ma does next.