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Sometimes it happens, but it happened to Cheng Kaige very sadly. I say about the cases when very talented young director, who could have become one of 10 greatest directors in history of cinema, loses his potential greatness by the underestimation of his best film. It happened to Sokurov's "The days of eclipse", but not so sadly. It didn't happen to Robert Bresson, because he had very strong will and faith.
Why,this vivid and human film with ambitious vision,did won nothing in Canne, without the most shameful prize for the most boring film!! Juries were fools? Or they refused to give Chinese director any honor to his artistic results(I say it not because I'm an Asian,but because I love film art)? I can't understand it at all.
"Hai zi wang" is cheerful as Jan Vigo' films, human as Kurosawa's best films, revolutional as Antonioni's best films, beautiful as Tarkovsky's best films. Yes, it has some weakness compared with them, but we can understand the reason. 1987 is the time, when all great directors of older generation had already done their best works or already died. And in China all progressive cinema hadn't shown. Studio system was dead almost everywhere in the world.
The result of this underestimation pushed the director toward Hollywood. The next film was still good, but not as "Hai zi wang". The film about two actors of traditional Chinese theater won in Canne, but is was completely different film, with Hollywood style.
The great director Cheng Kaige has lost his way...
We, spectator can still compensate for this. Just watch this human story, with philosophical depth and cinematographic novelty, and remember it as film art. And let's welcome and estimate properly when such films will appear next time.
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