films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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Chronicles of the Ghostly TribeĀ 

Jiu Ceng Yao Ta
2015 / 118m - China
Adventure, Fantasy
Chronicles of the Ghostly TribeĀ  poster

The Last Supper

Wang De Cheng Yan
2012 / 120m - China
The Last Supper poster

City of Life and Death

Nanjing! Nanjing!
2009 / 133m - China
City of Life and Death poster

A Chinese war film about the Nanjing bloodbath. Not the first film that was made about this dire event, but by far one of the least pompous ones. While there is a small layer of patriotism present, director Chuan Lu goes for a more realistic approach and places the audience right inside the action.

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Don't expect a very pleasant or entertaining film though, City of Life and Death puts its focus squarely on the war atrocities that happened back then. It's a film without a real lead, without too much narrative, but with lots of on-screen massacres that don't leave much to the imagination.

Still, the emotional impact of the film is rather limited. The black and white cinematography comes off a little forced, the repetition of the killings has an almost dulling effect and while the performances are pretty decent, the lack of a lead ultimately hurts the film. It's not a bad film, it just didn't succeed at what it set out to do.

Mountain Patrol

2004 / 90m - China
Drama, Thriller
Mountain Patrol poster

The film that kick-started Chuan Lu's career. I'm not a big fan of his work, but he made some amusing films and Mountain Patrol has somewhat of a positive reputation, so I figured it wouldn't hurt giving it a chance. It's not a bad film, but the potential was there to do a lot better with the material.

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A reporter from Beijing travels to Tibet to join a unofficial patrol group. They roam the mountains looking for poachers, who kill antelopes and sell their hides. It's a treacherous area to patrol though and since they don't receive any funding, they have to make do with what they can find.

The setting is majestic, but Lu doesn't always make the best use of it. While there are some pretty shots to be admired, they're actually quite sparse and the film looks a little too gray and unattractive. The plot is pretty basic too and the performances are nothing special. Not bad, but overall I was a little disappointed.