‘Crosscurrent’ (‘Chang Jiang Tu’): Berlin Review

A tour adult China’s Yangtze River becomes visionary communication in this Berlin foe entry.

The winter tour of a tiny load vessel adult a Yangtze River, from Shanghai to a source in a high mountains, becomes a forgive for a visionary mind outing of middle find in writer-director Yang Chao’s Crosscurrent (Chang Jiang Tu). Much like his prior film Passages, that won a Camera d’Or during Cannes in 2004, it’s all about embellishment and mood, while a storytelling is so lightweight it competence not exist. Without it, this inebriated vessel sailing on communication can’t reason seductiveness for a whole dual hour using time. Audiences peaceful to abstain account for a consequence of basking in a pleasing cinematography, vivid communication and some superb views of internal China are expected to rally during film festivals.  

A plan 10 years in a creation after Yang brought a screenplay to a Cannes workshop, Crosscurrent seems to residence a childish assembly acid for a trail in life. Drifting by seas of capricious regretful doubts and yearning, a scenically beat-up load vessel ordered by immature captain Gao Chun (Qin Hao, a lead in Ye Lou’s Blind Massage) chugs a approach upriver. Chun’s father, a vessel owner, has recently died, and he keeps a black fish in an scent bowl, watchful for it to die so Dad’s suggestion can be released. This is a initial sign of a mystical/traditional/Buddhist themes that underpin a film and that will spin viewers possibly on or off, depending on their persuasion.

The film’s singular evil is that it follows a stroke of poems. These have been created by some long-gone deckhand who uttered his unhappy and feelings of despondency in a tip diary. When Chun stumbles opposite a hand-written book, he is perplexed by a abyss and longing. From that indicate on, he charts his march by a stream ports in a poems, and in any place he finds a same lady watchful for him.

While his organisation of two, that includes kindly, aged alcoholic Uncle Xiang (Jiang Hualin) and needlessly distressing immature deckhand, Wu Sheng (Wu Lipeng), is still moored in a haze of Shanghai harbor, Chun initial catches steer of a pleasing An Lu (Xin Zhilei) who stares behind during him from a vessel even some-more hoary than his own. When he approaches her, she shares her bed but serve preliminaries. It takes Chun’s voiceover to explain that nonetheless this is their initial encounter, it is apart from being only infrequent sex.

An Lu, as gradually becomes apparent when she magically turns adult in apart places along a river, is a stream suggestion herself. In one of her incarnations, she is a righteous Buddhist vital in a remote temple, nonetheless she doesn’t trim her conduct like a other nuns. She belongs to no male and refuses no one who comes to her. So most for Chun’s yearning to “have a lady of my own.”

As a ultimate regretful Chinese travelogue, a film delivers cultured pleasures apart over a reach of National Geographic. The Yangtze becomes increasingly a protagonist as they pass ports with names like Yunyang, Pengze and Fuling, all a approach to a Yichang mountains. Many of a scenic towns have been gutted by flooding and many aged buildings have been relegated to a flowing grave with a construction of a argumentative Three Gorges Dam, whose sluice gates yield a monumental stage of thoroughfare for a small boat.

Along a way, ancient Buddhist temples and statues dot a shore, mountains, and islands in a river. They are prisoner in overwhelming prolonged shots by Mark Lee Ping-Bing, a DOP on Wong Kar-wai’s In a Mood for Love. Echoing his work on Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Assassin are a strongly inspiring landscapes that seem to jump out of Chinese paintings. An Wei’s resigned soundtrack is also unusually lovely.

Production companies: Trend Cultural Investment Co., Ray Production, Just Show Production Beijing, Shandogn Jiabo Culture Development Co.
Cast: Qin Hao, Xin Zhilei, Wu Linpeng, Wang Hongwei, Jiang Hualin
Director, screenwriter: Yang Chao
Producers: Wang Yu, Ha Bo
Director of photography: Mark Lee Ping-Bing
Production designer: Zhao Ye
Editors: Yang Mingming, Kong Jinlei
Music: An Wei
World sales: Ray Produktion  
Venue: Berlin Film Festival (Competition)

116 minutes