Saturday, July 19, 2008

Not Quite All The Way "Up The Yangtze"

I just saw "Up The Yangtze" at the Grand Cinema, and have mixed feelings about it.

Soren Andersen gave it a good review in the News Tribune, which you can read here. Here's his conclusion:

"Chang captures Cindy’s uncertainties and Jerry’s egotism with great acuity. But what’s likely to stay with you longest is the movie’s images, which are at once beautiful and heartbreaking, none more so than a time-lapse sequence at the end of the film. In it, the Yangtze’s waters slowly rise until they engulf Shui Yu’s now abandoned family shack.

Going, going, gone, like a whole way of life. In the distance a tour boat sails slowly by, leaving that submerged way of life in its wake."

My problem with this movie is that I didn't have a good feel for what was lost or what was gained. I understand that change is hard for some people, but, in itself, that doesn't give me enough information to know whether I feel the change to be good or bad. Was a way of life submerged or, more simply, if still tragically, the mode of living of one family or one small group of families? I couldn't tell.

As for the cruise ship, I didn't have a good feel for the whole enterprise, tourists or crew. It came dangerously close to being a reality television show on which we see who does or doesn't get booted off the ship.

Did I like the movie? Yes, but mainly for the mood and ambiance created by the photography and music. I enjoyed the landscape in the background, but the people in the foreground left me feeling unsure of what I had just seen them go through.

But, of course, it's well worth seeing yourself. Maybe you'll see or hear something I didn't. If so, let me know.

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