• A pretty daunting film formally- I could see it working on me more with a second and third viewing
  • A three-pronged love story—three different time periods (like Zhangke Jia’s previous Mountains May Depart) and carried out with three different color schemes. The love story has a social-political backdrop. We get the drums three  times during the film.
  • Hou Hsiao-hsien influence is clear like on most of Zhangke Jia’s work—the longer takes here as the camera goes back and forth as they play mahjong is a nod to Flowers of Shanghai
  • The first section is green—great stain glass window used again and again—near the end of the first section we have an impression one-take fight scene
section 1- heavy on the use of Green- here in a great shot
stunningly beautiful stain-glass greens used heavily in section 1
  • Great shot of Volcano in the backdrop- architecture as character- it’s Antonioni and Ozu going back to Zhangke Jia’s previous work — especially Platform—this dialogue scene and a few others are very stagey—both characters speaking dramatically, looking off in the distance and not at each other—stylized, ethereal feel—almost Ordet-like
architecture as character has long been a part of
Zhangke Jia’s work as an auteur
  • The second section is red—a boat, red awnings, flowers, the dramatic singer in a red jump suit, gas station, red bikers helmet,
  • Socio-political—minors protesting, an entire town moved because of a damn, expansionism and development
political backdrop here with the love story on top
  • There are some just flat bad scenes- like her singing along to a song of regret—pandering
  • The third section—blue—blue train seats, blue “jeep” hat on stranger, Bin’s blue argyle sweater. Her blue vest.
  • The alien scene—need to see again—having a hard time
  • The long-dramatic pauses in the scenes takes some adjusting
  • From an architecture standpoint we get the volcano again as Bin learns to walk—I especially like the empty run down outdoor theater—but Zhangke Jia makes the mistake here of not dwelling on it like the run-down boat in McQueen in Shame – or like Kogoada in Columbus– this is not the achievement Columbus is
  • Again- formally strong- we get the drum going off three times during the film
  • R/HR border after one viewing