For Reel

Crosscurrent (2016)
October 26, 2016, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Yang Chao
4 Stars
crosscurrentYang Chao’s Crosscurrent inspired little but contempt when it premiered at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival, with many critics pointing to the languid pacing and its supposed philosophical incomprehensibility. The stunning technical achievement of cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bang (In the Mood for Love and The Assassin) works as a serviceable enough refutation, but the film also has remarkable merits as a tone piece. Like many of this year’s excellent films about poetry (Paterson, Neruda, and A Quiet Passion), Crosscurrent similarly shares lofty ambitions in tying verse to the image as a means of articulating the ways that we relate to the world around us. Chao’s envisioning of a journey up the Yangtze—from the financial hub of Shanghai to the flooded, desolate towns along the way to the Yichang mountains—advances a haunting story of erosion, with a climactic sequence at the Three Gorges Dam serving as an echo of the protagonist’s spiritual displacement.

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