East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

SFIAAFF '05: Green Hat

Though the script could be a WKW cast-off (that's a compliment, dummy,) the film is very mainland, with the refusal of easy beauty typical of China's Seventh or Eighth or Whatever Generation even more pronouned than usual. A trio of crims stage a bank heist; their leader (Liao Fan) wants to go to his girlfriend in America. Meanwhile, a midlife cop (Li Congxi) is having problems satisfying his wife. In the central scene, the cop and the head robber meet, as hostages are taken and blood is inevitable; this rhymes with a later scene, where the cop confronts the swimming coach he suspects of having an affair with his wife.

This latter scene takes place entirely within a claustrophobia-stuffed locker room, and includes a long static take of the two men sitting side by side on a bench, which Li carries with aplomb: head bowed, rarely raising his eyes yet still controlling the situation. (Long static takes need terrific actors to sustain them: that's why Ozu and Tsai built up stock companies.) Director Liu Fendou has some novel camera set-ups, but the impact comes from the content of the shots: a monkey and a dog in a cage in a car; the same dog trotting across the road, after one of the robbers, preparing to face the police, lets it out of the car.

In honor of Green Hat, I'll rate all the SFIAAFF movies using the Men Masturbating on the Beach scale. Watching this movie as much fun as watching 5,578 men masturbate on the beach.

Second opinion: Sneersnipe.


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