Sunday, April 6, 2014

Er Dong (China, 2008)


Er Dong is an independent Chinese film made in 2008. A delinquent teenager, an orphan, is sent to a Christian boarding school by his adoptive mother. He's expelled and runs away with a girl to get married.

I read somewhere that Chinese directors thought that simplicity in editing was important in Chinese film, that there were so few movies shown there for so long that audiences would have trouble understanding the "language of film". I don't know if they were right or wrong. The makers of early silent films in the west thought the same thing.

The movie is in long master shots, mostly static camera or panning on a tripod. A couple of tracking shots with the camera mounted on a coal car or in a bus or of the kids riding motorcycles. Filmed in what appears to be existing light. The movie is beautiful,

Rural northern China looks pretty good. The motorcycles look safe enough since there's very little traffic. The kids run off together and live in a tidy single room with a bed and table. Er Dong goes to work as a laborer.

This is how I picture Communism in rural China even with capitalist "reforms". Not rich but economically secure. It's picturesque with brick buildings.

The delinquent kids don't seem that bad. It's cute the way they hang their heads when they're in trouble, although they could be violent. The kid learns something very troubling from his past, how he came to be adopted.

Written and directed by Jin Yang.

Starring Li Jung Bai and Ming Juan Yang in what appears to be their only film.

Like almost everything else I watch, it's available for instant viewing on Netflix.

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