October 25, 2021


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‘Fire on the Plain’ Review: Thrilling, Nine Chinese Noir

3 min read

Although Western movies often compare film noir to retro passage and period rent, Chinese filmmakers maintain this trend in a contemporary, socially relevant way – often in the political and economic commentary of past censors and directly in their smooth underworld descriptions. Zhang Ji’s remarkable debut feature, “Fire on the Plain” follows this rich tradition: on the surface, it’s a great, wide yarn that weaves cold polyester with heated boy-girl melodrama, but specially made by detailed social textures. Has been its millennial setting in the poor, industrial-northeastern part of the country. A combined sense of longing for other lives and other options runs through the well-oiled mechanics of the plot, making the standout of this San Sebastian contest from mere compulsion to real excitement.

Former cinematographer Zhang Zhang is best known for his work on Bingjian’s “North by Northeast,” and it consists entirely of the first features to come – with its background, real storytelling brilliance matching your expected technical subtleties. If “Fire on the Plain” (it is in no way connected to the Ichikawa classic war film “Fires on the Plain”) occasionally recalls the work of current Chinese noir standard-holder Diao Yanan in a mix of his hard-boiled decor and hardscrabble realism, it No coincidence: Diao is credited as the executive producer here, and should continue his international interest in the film as it continues through the festival circuit.

Home turf, meanwhile, is already in full swing for “Fire on the Plain.” Young lead Zhou Dongu (star of Oscar-nominated Hong Kong sensation “Better Days”) and Liu Haoran (from the hit “Detective Chinatown” franchise) are proven box office products, while the film has adapted from the locally popular novel Shuang to Juetao’s “Socks in the Plain.” Unusually, Shuang is involved in production not as a screenwriter, but as an art director: of course the eviction of a sick factory town in Jilin Province in the late 90s and early 2000s, the streets marked with long-term state stains and obscenities. Feelings of neglect and impending financial crisis, vividly withdrawn and truly researched.

Structurally, the novel’s perspective পরিবর্ত behind the change কিছু is further linear-divided by a critical time interval যদিও although the story is a broader one. We start in the winter of 1997: the weather is bitter, factories are closing, and a large serial killer is targeting taxi drivers in the area. In the midst of this ordeal, the talented working-class teenager Li Fei (Zhou) is desperately desperate to escape to the South, where he may face brighter prospects than his father, who was recently fired from his factory job.

In her quest for self-improvement, she learns from a kind, wealthy neighbor whose two teenage sons, Shu (Liu), slowly bring a brilliance to her. Young people’s love blossoms in the cracks of urban concrete, although Shu brings a lot of luggage: at least not when a detective caught him in a police investigation into Cabby’s killer. Eight years later, Li Fei and Shu’s lives have changed dramatically – he’s a cop; He’s gone off the rails যদিও though now the cold case unites them once more.

Things get a lot more complicated from there, though never dull, because the film’s enduring hodunit angle is complemented by the human excitement of Li Fei and Shu’s strange magnetic, destructive relationship. The instantaneous, warm-to-touch chemistry of the stars is vital, persuasively advancing the story through its most abstract patches. But Zhaoi appears most enchanting, as he completes a full, full-fledged arc from the optimistic child to the wounded, real-world female fetal, which never comes out of its material at any stage of its transformation. International stardom is certainly waiting.

For Zhang, it is easy to guess where this indomitable, officially confident debut came from. Renting an upscale genre that is both commercially effective and festival-friendly is a complex compromise, and he got it at bat for the first time, when every element of production works towards the same sweet spot. Zhiyuan Chengma’s lensing is muscular and restless, although it sometimes pulls the table of bright beauty from the rubble, while the Russian Euro-art-house fixtures are surrounded by mourning mourners with Ivgueni and Sacha Galparin (“Loveless,” “Happening”). Metallic electro. This is the perfect sonic balance for a thriller whose goal is to hold our heart and throat at the same time. We invest in the character’s dream of escape, but we can’t take our eyes off their ugly reality.

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