2,5 Ever loyal to sordid non-aesthetics and phony thriller montage pro/premises, SR lures with a fluid, relaxed use of strange-loop gimmicks (Escher’s Drawing Hands or Krasznahorkai’s Satantango ending for that matter) & uncanny, swift camera subjectivization when an objective shot turns POV in a twinkling, secreting tingles while preserving and exposing the processual mutation. Tang Shu Shuen's The Arch in memoriam.
As close to a novel as a film can get. Which in a way is a great accomplishment - but in another, it's incredibly restrictive regarding the full capability of cinema. There is a reason why a book is a book and a film is a film. Still - a beautifully lyrical film.
Before Lou Ye's controversial Summer Palace was an equally daring, if not more potent, adventure deep into the recesses of contemporary Chinese life along a poluted river. Like Jia Zhangke, Lou Ye was part of a new generation of Chinese filmmakers who simply had enough of the sugar-coated fantasy conjured up by the Chinese media.