MYSTERY (浮城谜事) DVD (2012)
SYNOPSIS: Lu Jie is married to businessman Yongzhao and they have one daughter. Her life seems relatively set but her world is turned upside when she sees her husband entering a hotel with a young woman. A few hours later, a young woman is hit by a car on a highway. A police officer investigating the death believes the woman's death was not an accident.
Chinese screenwriter, producer and director Lou Ye's seventh feature film which he co-produced and co-wrote with Chinese screenwriters Yu Fan and Mei Feng after a story by Li Yongfang, is inspired by an online diary by "Watching The Moon Leave" on Tianya community. It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 65th Cannes International Film Festival in 2012, was shot on location in Beijing, China and is a China-France co-production which was produced by producers Chen Xi, Nai An and Kristina Larsen. It tells the story about a woman named Lu Jie who lives in an apartment block in Chinawith her husband named Qiao Yongzhao and their daughter named An'an. One rainy day when Lu is at a playground with An'an she meets a woman named Sang Qi whom is there with her son named Yuhang and who insists that they meet again. Lu and Sang meets again and their children get to play together, and when they meet for the third time at a cafe, Lu learns that Sang thinks her husband is having an affair.
Subtly and engagingly directed by Asian filmmaker Lou Ye, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from one of the female main characters' point of view, draws an instantly intriguing and multifaceted portrayal of the excruciating consequences of a successful father's liaisons and the evolving relationship between two mothers.
While notable for its distinct and naturalistic milieu depictions, reverent cinematography by film editor and cinematographer Zeng Jian, art direction by art directors Du Luxi and Peng Shaoying and use of sound, colors and light, this character-driven and narrative-driven story about whether or not it is justifiable to exonerate someone whom has committed an unlawful act and then rationalizes that deed as instigated under the influence of love and as beyond moral judgment, the casualties of other people's love and where a wife learns new things about her husband and makes a new acquaintance, a husband is keeping secrets, a police officer whom is in the midst of an investigation is assisted by his friend who hasn't gotten over his ex- girlfriend and two children are becoming friends, depicts three isolating and merging studies of character and contains a great and timely score by composer Peyman Yazdanian.
The movie does start off as a bona-fide horror film. If you as me, do not know the specifics/plot of the movie, you might be excused to think this is where this movie is heading. But while the horror stigma does not really fit (a "I know what you did last summer" vibe hanging around it), the movie itself might terrify you. The plot it tells and the way the characters act that is. This surprising, quietly conversational, atmospheric and psycho-emotional drama triangle, love-story and moral mystery is set in the capital city of Chinain the 21st century. It is also a darkly romantic, modestly poetic and cinematographic character piece which gained, among other awards, the award for Best Film at the 7th Asian Film Awards in 2013.
Visual and audio aspects are serviceable in this no-frills DVD.
DVD RATING :
Review by John Li