Monday, June 30, 2014
No Man's Land (2009/2013) New York Asian Film Festival 2014
The story is that the Chinese government held up release for four years. Somehow the film escaped and was released last year and made a boatload of money. (if you go to the NYAFF screening and they explain it all, let me know the story)
Director Hao Ning has fashioned a dark action comedy where everyone is on the make and everyone has an angle. Its a bunch of not wholly likable characters all trying to get an advantage on everyone else. Its the sort of film that makes you wince at the violence and has the laughter kind of catching in your throat.
In many ways this is probably the best film that Hao Ning has done. For me its the one film that maintains its tone from start to finish and is consistently good all the way through. For example his Guns and Roses, which played NYAFF in 2012, suffered from wild tonal shifts including a final one to all black that made me want to play in traffic (and was a reason I've never watched it a second time)
I like the film a great deal and recommend it when it plays tomorrow night at the festival. If nothing else this is a great looking film that uses the widescreen frame to marvelous effect-so much so I wish I had seen this on the big screen. That said, if you go don't expect a light action comedy, this is something a tad darker.