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Just watched this movie at the 2014 Shanghai International Film Festival, and I have to say that I was disappointed. The movie was very slowly paced, which isn't a bad thing for me except that there seemed to be nothing behind the slow pacing. No simmering, under the surface character development going on. The female lead doesn't perform well enough for me to believe her emotional arc and the supporting cast all give wooden performances that detract from the story. The thing that annoyed me the most, however, were the long exposition dumps that the director didn't even try to hide. Just one character explaining a lot of things to another. I know this might be deliberate, but there are still far more creative ways to feed the information he wanted to the audience. It took me out of the moment each time a doctor or a friend or a brother decided to pause and give a chunk of exposition to the audience. The camera choices also left a lot to be desired. I'm at a film festival, so I'm expecting (and indeed look forward to) non-obvious choices behind the camera. The focus racks and pans were so excruciatingly slow, however, that they took away from whatever moment I was in with the characters. Again, I understand that this might have been in order to make a statement about sensory experience (given the movies themes), but I again thought it could have been done in a more effective and engrossing way. Overall, I was hoping that a foreign director would breath some life into what has unfortunately become several years of disappointing Chinese cinema at the Shanghai Festival. That did not happen. Still, however, better than every other Chinese language submission to the the festival that I've watched in the 8 years that I've been going to it.
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