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Directed by Bi Gan

China 2018 140 mins. In Mandarin with English subtitles

Bi Gan’s sophomore feature is a moody fragmented effort that shatters film noir tropes into a visually dark and spatially psychological drama. Nothing is certain within the unconventional plotline that centers around Luo Hongwu (Huang Jue), who returns home after over a decade to find his father dead and a mysterious yet familiar woman haunting him. As he attempts to piece together the meaning of lost secrets and friends, identities shift and symbols abound in gorgeously dilapidated locales, until a significant shift in the second half: Lou goes to the movies—and so do we, getting meta in 3-D. The acrobatic 59-minute continuous take is a dream logic manifesto that moves from underground hideouts to ping-pong tables and courtyard karaoke in search of uncertain romance. The shot took Gan and French cinematographer David Chizallet seven attempts to get it right, and it’s well worth the wait.

Filmography: Kaili Blues (2015)

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