Amazing, just AMAZING from one of the (two?) contemporary masters of
Chinese Film Noir, the international Film
Festival favourites Diao Yinan and Jia Zhang-Ke. These two auteurs are
pushing the boundaries for Chinese Cinema
and are at the front of The Chinese New Wave, and i'm absolutely certain
that the Chinese Film industry will grow and
become a huge player on the international film scene. With such talents,
actors, directors, cinematographers ...
Diao Yinan + Gwen Lun-Mei
Jia Zhang-Ke + Zhao Tao
Both of these directors often use the "jiang hu"
(the gangster world, the triads) as a backdrop to their stories, and
of them has got their favourite female actresses in the leads. Jia Zhang-Ke
with his muse and wife, Zhao Tao, and Diao
Yinan with Gwei Lun-Mei, both fantastic actresses and with a strangely
fascinating hypnotic quality to them.
Diao Yinan and Jia Zhang-Ke - i LOVE them, they're not that old and
let's just think about all the great films they still
will make and surprise us with. But, please, please skip doing the Hollywood
co-production, it always ends with dis-
appointment as with korean directors Kim Je-woon, Park Chan-wook (and
to a lesser degree) Bong Joon-ho.
The Wild Goose Lake is a straightforward crime movie
about a minor gangster who mistakenly kills a policeman during
a Triad turf fight and then is hunted by both the police and by the
gangsters of the city. The city, which would be the
city of Wuhan, Hubei province. IMDB says the Wuhan dialect is spoken
in the movie.
For me this film felt like Yinan has aggregated the best part of classic
gangster movies, of the HK school and the films
of Johnnie To, of Hollywood Film Noir and of other international crime
movies and melted it into his own Jiang hu film
- THE Chinese Gangster movie.
This is the first Diao Yinan movie in 5 years, since
his also masterful crime noir the 2014 Black Coal, Thin Ice (Bai ri
huo) and which won the Best Film award the Golden Bear at the Berlin
International film festival. And, if it's even possible
the cinematography by cameraman Dong Jin Song is even
more beautiful in The Wild Goose Lake, and this film is a
visual feast and ultra-stylish with set-pieces that would've made even
a Johnnie To at his best (Throw Down) envious.
The Story is quite simple: Zhou Zenong (Hu Ge) is a
minor Wuhan gangster boss with some men in his gang. Attending
a triad meeting which ends in chaos and in a gangster war (with a chase
along the river bank of the .... Yangtze river ?)
he finds himself mistakenly killing a cop. Not a good idea in any country
and certainly not in China, and the Wuhan
Police sets up a huge Dragnet to hunt him down and with a bounty offered
Zenong knowh he's fucked as not just the police is hunting
him but also the gangsters of Wuhan, including his own
gang members too probably, to receive the bounty. He contacts a gangster
girl, a "Bathing Beauty" at the Wild Goose
Lake, a prostitute that is - Liu Ai Ai (played by the hypnotic Gwen
Lun Mei, wow, i couldn't take my eyes off her) to
help him finding his wife Shu Jun (Wan Qian) which he haven't seen in
5 years, so that she will get the money reward.
Liao Fan, who had a major part in Black Coal, Thin Ice can be seen as
a cop, captain Liu, in a small part.
The Blu-ray presents the film in widescreen 1.85:1 and
with a chinese (wuhanese?) audio DTS-HD MA 5.1 or 2.0 with
english subtitles, region All.
Extras: Diao Yinan featurette (8 minutes), Hu Ge and Gwen Lun Mei interview
(6 minutes), Trailer, Short Film "The
Goddess"directed by Renkai Tan, other trailers