Taking Father Home | Chicago Reader

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Rarely has a filmmaker done more with less. Using a single video camera, first-time director Ying Liang fashions an absorbing tale of a teenager in Sichuan Province (Xu Yun) who leaves his village and sets off for Zigong City to find the father who abandoned him years earlier; on the bus ride there, he falls under the wing of a tough, philosophical cop (Liu Xiaopei, in a fine performance). The picture quality is poor and the subtitles worse (“You are too gluehead,” declares the obstinate teen's mother). But Ying's intuitive mastery of the long take makes this 2005 video a hypnotic experience: with a sure sense of film space, he creates striking compositions in which the action frequently moves between the background and foreground. The story also has a fair amount of social punch, turning as it does on the rising waters of the Fuxi River and the government's attempts to relocate those on the flood plain. In Mandarin. 101 min.

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