In the subtropical province of Guizhou, Chen Sheng embarks on a journey to find his nephew.
In the subtropical province of Guizhou, Chen Sheng embarks on a journey to find his nephew.
Lu bian ye can
As I was exiting the theater, I heard a man tell the woman beside him, "Y'know, this was directed by the guy who made Uncle Bowie."
I honestly can't improve on Shelly Kraicer's take, and I'm not going to try. I will simply note just how much his observations opened the film up for me, particularly when I felt a bit at sea with it. (Confession: I tend to read about films only afterwards, but I paused Kaili Blues in the middle, read Kraicer, and finished the film.)
I was having trouble orienting the characters in relation to one another, not so much their familial connections but where they were relative to each other in time and space. At first I mistook this problem as my own, or some combination of my lack of sufficiently close viewing and Bi's elliptical style. More specifically, I was…
Right up there with the greatest feature
length directorial debuts of the last decade.
"You took a photo and stole my soul."
or: Guizhou Express. bi gan holds a greater understanding of film grammar at 29 than many achieve in their whole lives, and watching Kaili Blues, you get the feeling he was born to do this. much of this feels like "if you were a fly on the wall" type of stuff, as if you were a bird flying from fragment to fragment around Guizhou, and bi gan shoots it with a cryptic, inscrutable sort of fondness. the andrei tarkovsky + apichatpong weerasethakul comparisons certainly hold merit (who knew the perfect companion piece to Stalker would arrive 36 years later), but this is an entirely new beast that deserves to be seen without the perspective of bi gans' forebears. a mystery film that ironically alleviates all the tension in your body. the best kind of dream.
The rating is a total cop-out. There are sections where I wanted to curl up and take a nap and others where I wanted to stand up and cheer. So inscrutable at times that it is almost impenetrable and yet it's lingering in my head more than most of the films I've seen recently.
The best sequence is the middle portion which is one long (at least a half hour) unbroken take. It does not come off as a gimmick -- like in the recent Victoria -- but as a necessary tool. It does not strive for vacant verisimilitude but instead highlights the artificiality of the scene, which itself may be a hallucination. Throughout the film there are moments of haunting grace notes (a body appearing as a reflection in the corner of the frame, a clock manifesting itself on the side of a train) that are so subtle you wonder if they even happened.
Physician, heal thyself.
Hou Hsiao-hsien by way of Miguel Gomes, a work that cements its formal mastery largely through subverting it, pulling off audacious long takes that use handheld verisimilitude and sheer duration to conjure novelistic density and a surreal disruption of time. Past and future collide to make yet more baffling the present. The camera has a strangle wobble effect that undermines its POV roamings, instead highlighting the hyperreal textures and colors of the digital cinematography until this tactile film becomes a living reverie, dwelling on memories that are still being formed while the protagonist relives them. Incredibly, this descent into a temporal collapse actually clarifies the more inscrutable opening third, revealing its bricolage of scattered details to be the introduction of numerous small plots addressed in the bravura unity of time and vision that comes later.
The most interesting thing about Bi Gan's highly elliptical road-movie is that it feels stuck between two worlds, similar to the way Ozu ruminated on that low-intensity but painful feud between the old and the new. This is not an intuitive film, it's pretty stingy with information, but it does use its visual style to communicate generational disharmony between traditionalism and modernism, calling forth the contradictions of Meiji Restoration. One might even argue that KAILI BLUES is Bi Gan's surreal rendering of the Ozuian fetish for urban alienation, only he's molding it now for his own country, setting up the clash between a historically lush, organic Chinese landscape and its unfinished, inorganic, industrialized future.
KAILI BLUES presents a dream-like journey…
Reality perceived through memories, but the memory had gotten rather blurry, to the point where it couldn't be differentiated from dreams. Since the beginning we were seated behind frosted glass, it was never meant to be a literal recount of events. There is enough realism for a full immersion, yet also infused with enough inconsistencies to tip us off balance. The human memory is notoriously unreliable. In our minds, the destination was clear, the journey there wasn't, like how yangyang took a large detour by taking a boat to cross the river, then circle back around by bridge, just to attend a band performance a few blocks away. Some details might have been lost in the fog, tangled up and replaced, the timeline is all wrong too. At the end of the day, we were simply reliving a past that is not ours.
Two movies now into the work of Gan Bi (the first being Long Journey's Into The Dark), its clear this is a director that heavily drinks from the waters as Koreeda in terms of story, Yang in relation to the themes and Malick when it comes to the direction (this one by the end we hit to the one long 40+ mins take, you can trace many of tits ifnluences to The Tree of Life and Knights of Cup). However, maybe because of his time behind the camera or for personal preferences, Bi is much of a low-key and minimalistic man.
Another thing it has become clear is that Bi really loves his hometown of Kaili (or its surroundings), which…
A broken down person and his journey through a place that acts as the meeting point of the past, the present, and the future. The place is enigmatic; full of lush green scenery and a sense of ethereal tranquility. On his quest to find a person, he enters a fantasyland that helps him unearth his own past to us. Here, a 25 years old Bi Gan emphatically announces his arrival to the film industry, and shows everyone that he understands the language of cinema like a seasoned veteran. Kaili Blues, along with his next feature, unquestionably solidify him as the next great Asian director to keep an eye on.
"It's like being in a dream."
This meditative, almost transcendent chronicle of a man looking for his young nephew in the Chinese countryside marks a remarkable debut for 27-year-old director Gan Bi. It starts out like an understated family drama with nothing much happening. Crucial bits of the plot are unraveled slowly and mysteriously. Poetic voice-overs and Buddhist quotes overlay the shot composition. This is all reminiscent of the Taiwanese New Wave, actually. But then something special happens. Around the one-hour mark a tracking shot begins and it’s the most transfixing thing ever. It really gives off the feeling of being whisked away to a place that defies time, like reliving a memory. This is just stunning and I hope to see more from this young filmmaker in the coming years.
Three masterpieces of 2016 :
Andrzej Zulawski's Cosmos.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cemetery of Splendor.
Gan Bi's Kaili Blues.
I don’t know if you can just shoot a film, shoot whatever and make something great. Although for 200,000 Chinese Yuan which is just over £22,000 it is very impressive. The long take despite being shot on a Canon 5D Mark Iii showed some real skill and a few of the other shots are nice. But I don’t really like it. A bit soulless.
Primer had a $7,000 (£5,012) budget. It was short and punchy and it worked.
1hr50 is a bit too much.
La cinematografía me voló la triplehijueputa cabeza!
Quiero volver a verla y ponerle mas atención.
El hijueputa Plano secuencia ?????????
Loved it. A surrealist film hiding in the images and tools of strict realism. I was duped on my initial viewing. For some reason, the scene in which the flat moving image of the train overlays Crazy Face's room, a bold hint for its surreal ambitions, did not register for me.
The poetic narration in the hands of a lesser artist could yield pretension, but here it only contributes to the film's mood and ambition. Despite some of its technical flaws, the 40-minute long take in the middle of the film manages to create a simultaneously grounded and dreamy sequence, as if the protagonist had briefly gone to a different world.
A near masterpiece and probably will be once I have seen it again. I feel that I missed so much on first viewing as this is a very complex piece of film making that makes use of time and motifs and technical flourishes (lots of long takes including one very long take). The story is meandering and at times hard to follow but you become very aware that you are watching a young master of cinema plying his trade and at times you just have to stand back and admire the sheer brilliance of this piece of art.
You can actually just enjoy this film for the beautiful scenery on first viewing knowing that you will revisit it again.
sometimes you like a movie for mostly the scenery and the vibes and that is OK
"Its like being in a dream."
Rewatching Kaili Blues is one of the best decisions I've ever made.
It’s impossible to retain a past thought,to seize a future thought,and even to hold onto a present thought.
I like films where a cat accidentally walks into the frame.
I suppose I'd need to watch the film again in order to crack in understand what the hell happened considering after finishing and reading the wikipedia plot summary my main reaction to "Chen drifts into a mysterious village called Dangmai, in which the past, present, and future mix together." was "WHAT? HOW? WHEN?"
So yeah, I didn't understand this film in the slightest, but I still found it engaging enough and enjoyable as a tone poem which focused so much on the aesthetics and the atmosphere of the subtropical setting. There's a long single take in the middle of the movie which is just visual bliss and a joy to watch, but even asides from that the movies is filled gorgeous shots and amazing blocking by the director.
A worthwhile film even though it's a hard nut to crack.
Una pelicula para disolverse en el tiempo