Film Review: The Coffin Painter (2021) by Da Fei

The vast majority of the Chinese language Mainland movies that display screen in festivals are quite bleak, each of their essential topic and of their total presentation. Da Fei, though not straying utterly away from this path, tries to tone it down a bit by together with some components of European cinema in his narrative. Allow us to see how this complete factor works.

“The Coffin Painter” screened at Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinemas

Jia is a quite lonely man who lives by himself, portray coffins for the few aged who nonetheless need to not be cremated. By means of flashbacks, although, we additionally be taught that the rationale for his loneliness is his son’s loss of life, an occasion he appears to accuse himself for. Sooner or later, a younger lady, Seven, arrives in the identical courtyard he lives in together with her mom, as they attempt to keep away from the mortgage sharks which might be on their heels. The girl works as a hostess, and the lady basically grows up by herself, with the one interplay she has together with her mom being by preventing. When she begins getting bullied at school, Jia decides to assist her, considering that life has given him a second probability. Issues, nonetheless, are rather more sophisticated than he anticipated.

Da Fei directs a movie that makes various very fascinating feedback, significantly relating to the difficulties of elevating youngsters in present instances, particularly for single mother and father. The truth that the grown ups discover themselves misplaced someplace between attempting to earn a living and discovering time to grasp and educate their youngsters, turns into one of many central feedback right here, as a lot as their failure in each points basically. Da Fei doesn’t take sides precisely, seemingly blaming one thing that is still imprecise, in a query although, of if youngsters are born or made in sure methods, being fairly tough to provide a solution to.

The idea of loneliness can be a central one, with the best way Jia ultimately warms as much as the lady, highlighting the truth that individuals who undergo from it simply want a nudge occasionally, whereas the touch upon faculty bullying is examined much more deeply, by the prism of ‘crime and punishment’. In in all probability essentially the most entertaining side of the film, Da Fei additionally feedback on the idea of male bonding, and the way, typically, violence may be the supply of an eventual friendship, in a remark that’s fairly practical really.

Though the general context is interesting in various methods, the presentation considerably lacks. The melodramatic components are too intense occasionally, with the prepare scene for instance bordering on being tacky, whereas the reliefs talked about within the venture, find yourself being too “Amelie”, with the scene with the change of garments and the crimson painted truck basically searching of context. The identical applies to the best way the 2 protagonists ultimately ‘heal’ one another, which finally ends up being considerably unconvincing, ‘simple; when you want. The filmmaker’s want to lighten the tone is welcome, however the best way he approaches these topics isn’t precisely preferrred.

Alternatively, there’s nothing improper with any of the opposite points of the film. Lopsang is kind of convincing within the portrayal of a strong however damaged man, and his transformation is dealt with with realism. Tang Lai Kwong’s cinematography is gorgeous occasionally, significantly in the best way he makes use of home windows to current a few of his frames, whereas Wang Yuye and Yuan Ze’s modifying implements a comparatively quick tempo that works fairly effectively for the narrative, and the varied flashbacks are well-placed.

Basically, there isn’t any explicit fault in “The Coffin Painter”, aside from the melodramatic moments, and the reality is, the film is kind of simple to observe. On the identical time, nonetheless, there’s nothing particular about it both…

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