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Edward T. McDougal
Louis Gossett Jr.,
The 116-minute version shown at Berlin International Film Festival is a rough cut finished at 2K, with many monologues to support the narrative. After the film festival, the film was scanned at 4K resolution, they re-cut and reconstructed the whole film, many monologues were deleted, the final theatrical version is 115 minutes. See more »
For lovers of Chinese poetry, disaster for most of the western audience.
I had the luck, pleasure - or burden - to see this film premiering at the Berlinale 2016. It was a quite interesting premiere with the actors leaving the room when the lights were turned off, although they later stated on stage that they watched it through. If you decide to watch "crosscurrent" be warned that this is a very poetic film. In the sense of being driven by Chinese poetry with a lot of symbolism. It is hard to digest if you don't know much about Chinese arts and language. Speaking of language, the movie was shown with German and English subtitles and they differed enormously in their meaning in some scenes. Unfortunately I only speak a few words of mandarin, so I can't really judge the linguistic quality. I don't want to spoiler anything here, which is really difficult because the plot is quite simple and it's more about the poetry than about the actors of the movie and the main actress even stressed that there is room to improve on her acting and it was mostly below average, but this is also due to the script which doesn't really emphasize on the persons interacting. The movie starts very serene with a man embarking on a journey up river (nothing new here), which is driven by Chinese poetry. The first half is quite slow and tedious, which made me almost fell asleep several times, but later on it get's a bit more interesting (but not really engaging. Still some of the imagery is quite pleasing and there are a lot of scenic shots (although mostly in 'moody' conditions). The director, or better to call him an artist, said it's one of the last movies in China shot on celluloid. And so, although it was produced over the course of several years (shooting alone over the course of four years) you can see some technical glitches like dirt spots or missed focus in some scenes. But despite all it's shortcomings the end has some surprises and there's especially one scene which made me laugh, although it's actually quite demoralizing if you realize what just happened.
Long story short: A serene film for lovers of Chinese poetry and landscape paintings, but probably a disastrous experience for most of the western audience.
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