Welcome, reader! According to Antony Hegarty in this second decade of the new century our future is determined. What will it be? Stays all the same and do we sink away in the mud or is something new coming up? In this blog I try to follow new cultural developments.

Welkom, lezer! Volgens Antony Hegarty leven we in bijzondere tijden. In dit tweede decennium van de eenentwintigste eeuw worden de lijnen uitgezet naar de toekomst. Wat wordt het? Blijft alles zoals het is en zakken we langzaam weg in het moeras van zelfgenoegzaamheid of gloort er ergens iets nieuws aan de horizon? In dit blog volg ik de ontwikkelingen op de voet. Als u op de hoogte wilt blijven, kunt u zich ook aanmelden als volger. Schrijven is een avontuur en bloggen is dat zeker. Met vriendelijke groet, Rein Swart.

Laat ik zeggen dat literaire kritiek voor mij geen kritiek is, zolang zij geen kritiek is op het leven zelf. Rudy Cornets de Groot.

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Dylan Thomas.

Het is juist de roman die laat zien dat het leven geen roman is. Bas Heijne.

In het begin was het Woord, het Woord was bij God en het Woord was God. Johannes.

maandag 1 augustus 2011

Movie review: Still life (2006), Jia Zhang-Ke

Loved-ones disappear in the Chinese diaspora.

China’s economical booming has its negative effects, as we see these days with the trainaccident in Wanzhou again. Because of the making of the Tree Gorges Dam in the Yangtze in 1993, more than a million inhabitants from Fengjie had to move elsewhere. From 2003 the authorities let water in and created a artificial lake. In May 2006 the waterlevel was supposed to be 156, 3 meters high. Jia Zhang-Ke (1970) went there to film in the area with his digital camera and produced a fascinating movie that shows more than it tells.

A ferry comes to the two thousand year old town Fengjie, bringing Han Sanning, a miner from Shanxi (see the man on the photo). He wants to find his wife Missy and their daughter who left him sixteen years ago. He wears a big white undershirt and carries only a handbag with a few belongings. The adress is on a cigarette box, but Han finds out that the street doesn’t exist anymore. Water is flowing over there.

In the migrationbureau there is a lot of quarrel, because they lost track about all the changes. Han finds a pension and hears from the owner, mister He, that his wife works on a boat. Han goes there and asks Ma, her brother in law, about Missy, but Ma reacts hostile.

Han starts working in demolishing. Breaking down old flatblocks. He says to his mate Mark that he paid 30.000 yuan for his wife. Mark says they are not fit for this world because they are too nostalgic.

Han goes to the house of a whore. Her man has got an accident and cannot work anymore. He goes outside when Han comes in. Later the whore shows a photograph with his daughter in a schoolclass.

We hear a song with the words: Let us fly away together, far from the world.

The other story is about nurse Shen Hong (the women on the photo) who looks for her husband Guo Bin, who left her two years ago to go help constructing the dam. Dongming, a archeologist helps her find him. In an office she reads information about the Three Gorges Dam. A woman called Ding Yaling is leading the project. Shen thinks Bin fell in love with Yaling. Finally Shen meets Bin. They dance on the pavement next to the lake. Then Shen says she loves another man and wants to divorce.

We see the monument of the Three Gorges Dam disappear as a rocket in the air. Before we saw it flying in the sky.

We go back to the first story. Mister He has to leave his boardinghouse. Han hears from Ma that Missy cannot come and that he has to wait till the boat comes. We see three mysterious kings sitting at a table.
Mark dies under a pile of stones. Finally Ma and Han meet. Ma says their daughter works in Dongguan, in the far south. She herself works on a boat in exchange for food. She wants to know why Han waited 16 years to visit her. She was a young mother when she left. She wants to help him find another woman, but Han is not interested. He goes with her to her boat to see a photo of his daughter and and sleeps in the boat. In the morning during breakfast he talks to the boss and says that he wants to take his wife home. He has to pay 30.000 yuan the boss says. He promises to pay within a year.

His wife gives him a White Rabbit toffee. A block of flats far away collapses.
‘I go home,’ Han tells his collegues. He gives them all a cigarette. When they hear that they can earn more money in the mines they go with him.
At the end we see someone balancing in the sky between two flats. It is the last magical element in this fascinating low budget movie.

Zhang-Ke already made Platform (2000), Unknown Pleasures (2002) en The World (2004).
In 2006 Still life was rewarded with a Golden Lion in Venice.

See the trailer on http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi982188825/

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