Director: Gan Bi

China, 133

Screenwriter: Gan Bi

Cast: Wei Tang, Jue Huang, Sylvia Chang, Yongzhong Chen.


“I might never have gone back to Kaili had my father not died…” spoken by Luo Hongwu (Huang Jue) is the perfect entree into a film noir world of set in Southwest China. Wandering the streets of his childhood town in southwest China, Luo tries to solve the murder of an old friend, and to find a mysterious woman who is the lover of a local crime boss. But what in the first half seems like a 1940s American mystery turns into a surreal dreamlike labyrinth. Memories of the past and dreams of the present culminate in a nod to filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (The Sacrifice), with a final, stunning hour-long scene shot in one take. The ethereal electronic score is by Lim Giong and Point Hsu.

“Magical. An honest-to-God, how’d-they-do-that enchantment. Ranks among the great poetic and technical achievements in recent cinema. A full-body swoon of a movie.”