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Old 08-31-2010, 04:07 PM   #16
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I am behind, I realize, but now I have Netflix back, so now I'm ready to start.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:34 PM   #17
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Looking forward to this. I had to miss the last two but I'll catch up.
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:10 PM   #18
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I still have to watch our last selection, but since this is on Instant Watch I'll check it out.
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Old 09-06-2010, 05:51 AM   #19
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I'll be posting something later today. Excited for the discussion around this one.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:20 PM   #20
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Will be watching this today.
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Old 09-08-2010, 03:07 AM   #21
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Turns out this film isn't quite what I expected, but not necessarily in a bad way. It falls much closer in line with Jia's first three films than I expected, in its rather more free-form and "underground" structure and aesthetic as well as its focus on a young couple and the episodes of their relationship(s) which carry far more underplayed comments on the social and political state of his contemporary homeland. At the same time The World feels very much like the key transitional film in his oeuvre, as it certainly hints towards things to come. Jia's later films being more formally precise and pointedly expressive in their aesthetic. His later work also takes on increasingly more overt social and political themes as well as a shift into hybrid fiction/documentary territory.

Resting somewhat uncomfortably in a sort of middle-ground, this film functions best as a lushly textured green and gold-hued mood piece, fore-grounding its subjects against landscapes chronically too vast to be captured in a single static frame. As such, the film makes a motif of one of Jia's signature moves, the long pan across a setting, either shifting a subject into or out of the picture, typically in profile. This is just one of many distancing techniques used in the film, comprised mostly of semi-static long takes, roaming hand-held work, and the aforementioned slow pans, almost ways in long or medium-long shot.

All that, the fairly muted acting and script, the many visual and narrative digressions, and the way characters move in and out of space can make it a difficult film to really get inside and an ephemeral episodic experience by design. However, I personally found around the exact half-way point of the film all the rhythms, the many themes and variations (to borrow an appropriately musical terminology) of the film began to fit into place, and it's secrets began to reveal themselves so to speak [which isn't to say the film meandered for its first half then pulled itself together so much as, like any set of patterns, they have to be given time before they make themselves apparent. I look forward to a rewatch which is sure to reveal quite a bit of intricacy and design from the very beginning.]

Then again, I quite like films of that conception, and the deliberate distancing mechanics and unconventional narrative sprawl can certainly turn one off. It's a rather studied approach the film takes to its subjects and many themes, but there are moments of great emotional depth through the form. It's a melancholy perspective on China's past mistakes and potentially devastating embrace of the future, at its core highlighting how insular the individual society has become, willing to erect substitutes to genuine cultural interaction (on the macro) and to sincere and fulfilling personal relationships (the micro). Jia has always been fascinated by the quickly changing personality and destiny of his country, and I find this film in particular to be a pretty articulate and even-headed examination of the mistakes his people seem to be making in promise of progress, the story of a country and a culture that is always unfolding but never quite manages to really get started.
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Old 09-08-2010, 03:11 AM   #22
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Oh also, the film is just being released on Blu-ray, which is a huuuuuge improvement from the shoddy transfer available through netflix currently. You can tell just by looking at the screens here how much of the film's rigorous aesthetic beauty (filled with long shots and wide horizontal composition as it is) is betrayed by a tarnished low-resolution transfer.














The World Blu-ray Shijie Zhang Ke

edit: Sometimes the hotlinking seems to work and others not-so-much. Can always just follow the link though.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:26 AM   #23
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I liked the setting - that park was a cool place to base the movie and the characters. I wish there'd been more of the friendship between Tao and Anna.

It held my interest for the first half or so, and then it just started feeling really long.

I wish I'd liked it more.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:27 PM   #24
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I'm going to watch this either tonight or in the morning, but it sounds like it'll be something I'll like, so I'm pretty excited about that.


Lance, am I just supposed to say my pick?
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:56 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bono_212 View Post
I'm going to watch this either tonight or in the morning, but it sounds like it'll be something I'll like, so I'm pretty excited about that.


Lance, am I just supposed to say my pick?
You can just PM is to me if you'd like so the reveal can be more dramatic.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:20 AM   #26
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Ok, since my pick's fairly "mainstream" we've decided I should probably poll the audience. If I were to pick Brick, would the lot of you have already seen it?
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:28 AM   #27
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Yes.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:30 AM   #28
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I have.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:59 AM   #29
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Yeah, I figured, this was what made me nervous about joining the movie club. I just don't know a lot about any movies that are really all that obscure.

The next thing ON my list of movies to watch after Brick is...Trois couleurs: Rouge, but I have no idea if that has to be viewed with the other two movies or what. I'll get back to you all in a day or two.
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Old 09-09-2010, 03:06 AM   #30
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Hah, for those doing this who haven't seen Rouge yet, it would be best for them to see the other two first anyway, so probably not the best pick. You're on the right track though! Maybe another lesser known Kieslowski film, like Bland Chance or Camera Buff or something?
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