Ripples of Life, dir. Wei Shujun, China 2021, 123 min., Mandarin with English subtitles
On location in the small town Yong’an, we follow the trajectory of four characters preparing for a shoot: a local waitress, the lead actor returning to her hometown, and a director and screenwriter who both hail from Beijing.
Over three distinct chapters, the film uncovers each character’s inner thoughts and discrete perspectives on cinema during the typically challenging early stages of filmmaking. Wei Shujun excludes a quirky, self-deprecating attitude through his alter egos, the director-screenwriter duo. Wang Jiehong’s magnificently composed cinematography keeps enough distance for us to appreciate the understated performances and comically chaotic moments, and the film asks serious questions about the meaning of cinema without ever taking itself too seriously.
The peculiar power dynamic between the cosmopolitan film crew and Yong’an’s rural residents is brilliantly captured, climaxing in a wonderful final sequence with a musical surprise.
Mon, 11 Oct 2021
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