In Inner Mongolia in the early 1990s, 12-year-old Xiaolei enjoys summer with his father, who works at a film studio, and his education-minded mother. But life is rapidly changing, as stable... See full summary »
A town in Fengjie county is gradually being demolished and flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam. A man and woman visit the town to locate their estranged spouses, and become witness to the societal changes.
A young man tries to get away from his family's overwhelming power, but when he accidentally kills a local thug, his fate will be intricately linked to his father's. A woman, who for years ... See full summary »
In the northern Chinese city of Manzhouli, they say there is an elephant that simply sits and ignores the world. Manzhouli becomes an obsession for the protagonists of this film, a ... See full summary »
In the mystical,subtropical province of Guizhou,there is a small county clinic surrounded by fog.At the Kaili clinic,there are two doctors who live quiet,lonely lives.One of the doctors,Chen Sheng,embarks on a journey by train to find his nephew, who had been abandoned by his brother. On the way to Zhenyuan ,Chen Sheng came across a place called Dang Mai, where time seemed to flow both forwards and backwards, the lives of the local people a complete mystery. He experiences his own past and future,lending him insight into his own life. Once Chen arrives at Zhen Yuan, rather than approaching his nephew, he watches secretly from a distance, he is surprised to find that his nephew flourished in the absence of his father, and decides not to interfere in his life. Before he had left Kaili, he had promised his colleague that he w ould stop by the home of her former lover to deliver some items, but upon his arrival, he is told that the man had passed away, and he leaves the box of mementos ...
Loved the extended tracking shot, didn't much care for anything else
Long before three-quarters of an hour had passed watching this one I was really struggling. Nothing had engaged me on any level and I could not really understand what was meant to be so good about this film. But then something pretty great happened – a 40 minute single shot which tracked various characters over huge distances and which was technically quite brilliant. I found myself actually pretty mesmerised by the sheer audacity of this single take. I would cautiously say that this shot is worth the price of admission alone, I say 'cautiously' because I really didn't like anything else about this movie at all! I am seriously thinking I maybe did not connect with events on account of a cultural gap of some kind because I did experience a pretty severe disconnect with this one, the 40 minute long take notwithstanding. It seemed to be about a man in search of a relative and it does have some nice photography from China's Guizhou Province. But if this one has a chapter index on its DVD release, I would maybe just suggest you jump directly to the extended take and just watch that. That may be sacrilege to some but I figure it is enough for me; in any case, I think this sequence of cinematic wizardry is what this film will ultimately be remembered for. A word often associated with this film is 'poetic' but I suspect if it was a poem it would be one of those annoying ones which doesn't rhyme.
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