MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART ****
“Nobody can be with you all through life; we are fated to be apart.”
There’s a contagious feeling of expectation for the new era expressed in the joyful dance performed by a group of youngsters in the opening scene of Jia Zhang-ke’s new film. The celebration expands through the streets where people gather to see the dawn of the new century, following the experiences shared by Tao, a lovely ingenious girl and her two male friends. As she observes herself in the mirror, one of them asks “when are you studying me?” while the other looks at them confessing his discomfort. The 21st Century is knocking on the door of those three individuals, getting ready to face the biggest challenge of their lives: becoming mature and competitive. Their friendship is eventually broken and divided as they (a prosperous coal miner and a laborer) fight for Tao’s heart. Meanwhile, fearing abandonment, she tries to keep their initial bounds united but as the unavoidable consequences of life itself set them to different paths, each of them will complete their sacrifices in order to survive destiny. Cut; jump to 2014. A baby is born, his name’s Dollar, Tao has changed and so did the others: the laborer struggles with financial crisis and illness while the entrepreneur deals with his emotional failures. Chinese director Zhang-ke kicks off as a fresh take on a love triangle with the hopes of youth on the verge of a historical moment, then brings the action to current times with a financial crisis as backdrop, and forwards to the future still unveiling his characters and all the matters collected along the way. Time is punctuated by cell phones, guns, explosives, cars, technology and their advances. This authentic aspect, of commitment with his characters, following them through decisive periods in their lives, develops an amazing sense of complicity with the narrative. Poetical and humorous, Zhang-ke crafts the triple structure as a master of storytelling: the film is efficient both as a sensuous and intriguing melodrama and as a political statement on social differences. Zhang-ke strikes the audience with an accomplished look on the transformations in economy, society, family values, and how capitalism plays a major role on uniting and dividing. As the hopes and expectations of a new beginning were the start up, Zhang-ke will keep the hopes of a dance going on as future generations will have their chances for family and survival. (Opens February 12th at Film Society Lincoln Center, NYC)
BOY & THE WORLD
In this beautiful Oscar nominated animated-film, our little hero sets off on a quest for his father but he doesn’t understand well everything around him. He follows his instincts, experiencing the joys and dangers of his adventure, while Brazilian artist Alê Abreu paints a lively and singular portrait of innocence with hyper colors and mutative simple lines. The result is an exhilarating feast for the eyes and the mind- sort of dialog-free, the narrative invites us for a cheerful meditation into memories of childhood and the importance of family harmony.
THIS WEEK’S DVD
GRANDMA is a top-notch irreverent comedy starring Lili Tomlin as the crazy-hippie-supportive grandma of a young girl who’s decided to terminate her pregnancy. After providing lots of laughs with her confusions to gather money for the surgery, the film finds a coherent message, proving to be a fun-ride better than expected.