Directed by Gan Bi (China, 2018, 138 min.). Digital. Mandarin with English subtitles. Premiered at Cannes Film Festival.
Bi Gan follows up his knockout debut, Kaili Blues, with this noir-tinged stunner about a lost soul (Jue Huang) on a quest to find a missing woman from his past (Wei Tang, Lust, Caution). Following leads across Guizhou province, he crosses paths with a series of colorful characters, among them a prickly hairdresser played by Taiwanese superstar Sylvia Chang. When the search leads him to a dingy movie theater, the film launches into an hour-long, gravity-defying sequence that plunges its protagonist—and viewers—into a labyrinthine cityscape. China’s biggest arthouse hit of all time, the film took in more than $40 million dollars in its opening weekend at the domestic box office.