In Cathy Yan’s smart and polished debut feature, a mysterious wave of livestock deaths becomes an unlikely throughline in the lives of five very different people living in and around present day Shanghai. Impressive visual style draws the viewer in to gradually discover the connections among these complex individuals, and explore undercurrents of class, pride, and the clash between traditional ways and the promise of progress. The acting ensemble won a special jury prize at the film’s Sundance premiere, for characters including a pig farmer enamored of virtual reality, an expat architect, a businesswoman/pigeon enthusiast (dynamically portrayed by Vivian Wu), a waiter in an upscale restaurant, and one of his wealthy regulars. Each one cultivates the public version of themselves, hiding secrets and masking loneliness. Yan nods to her journalism background with the frequent presence of the media, and layers compassionate explorations of her characters into a biting commentary on consumerism and the drive toward modernization.
In competition for the Ricky Jay Magic of Cinema Award.
|Original Language Title:||海上浮城|
|Running Time:||130 minutes|
|Language:||in Mandarin and English with English subtitles|
|Producers:||Clarissa Zhang, Jane Zheng|
|Principal Cast:||Vivian Wu, Yang Haoyu, Li Meng, Mason Lee, David Rysdahl, Zazie Beetz|
|Primary Company:||Alibaba Pictures, Media Asia, Beijing Culture|