exquisite cinematography (set in Hangzhou) with graceful tracking shots evocative of landscape scrolls, contrasting the scale between human and natural world. But the story was lackluster, & overall it felt like a pastiche of independent Chinese cinema's greatest hits and catchiest trends--multi-generational drama a la Yang, demolition a la Jia, neo-noir a la Bi Gan and Diao Yinan, distant long takes a la Hou etc
Reminds me a lot of Kaili Blues, but with too many characters and underwhelming long-shots. You really feel the passing of time with this film, so I applaud the director's patience with production. I look forward to his next film in his Chinese scroll painting trilogy.
You want the expression of Yangian long-shot, but you cut, unconfidently, to a medium one in the last seconds. You want the Kiarostamian puzzling use of sound on image, you want the p.o.v. shot of a car with off-screen sound, but you also want the expression of a low-angle noir shot of two guys in the rain. You want the wandering camera of Tarkovsky, but you make sure to show details in completely unnessary inserts.
Was long, but in a good way. Similar to Ash is Purest White (2018) in that I kept thinking “please end here,” but would be glad it didn’t later. It’s beautifully slothy and has absurdly long tracking shots. The cinematography during walking conversations is notable. Dat trick, tho. I really like it. Saw in theatres during festival and attended discussion days later.
My #1 film of MIFF 2019, marrying complex, technically advanced filmmamking with a lovely, engrossing tale of family. Each tracking shot has a narrative function, often shifting focus to another character and/or connecting to a key theme such as gentrification or generational difference, all while looking stunning. The longest film I saw at the festival, but feels like one of the shortest. Earns comparsions to Yang.
A portrait of a family, changing and going through turbulent times much like their city and country. This film is quite beautiful, patiently paced and distant in a manner that gives characters space to move and live in. Xiaogang's emphasis on replicating the scroll like nature of the art which gives the film it's title is reflected by the film's form and results in many gradual pans - both beautiful and grating. 3.5