Short Film Review: A Matter of Time (2021) by Liu Yang

Sure issues are relentless and inescapable. For some issues – just like the sluggish, age-related decline of mind and the continued downside of China’s city re housing – it’s solely a matter of time. Directress Yang Liu’s bitter candy “A Matter of Time” is a poignant snapshot of a girl who’s about to lose her previous, in each materials and immaterial means.

“A Matter of Time” evaluate is a part of the Submit Your Movie Initiative

Ying (Yang Cao) is an aged woman who nonetheless works as a seamstress in her personal little store. Life will need to have been arduous on her however she appears to have settled into her little cocoon-y routine of residence, work and her pet parrots. Nevertheless, there’s a dissonant word within the image. She might be forgetful; she forgets her daughter Xiao Yu (Chengcheng Fang) and nephew Wei Wei are visiting on Saturday, she forgets to activate the gasoline underneath the wok and she or he appears misplaced at occasions. Her mood is sort of quick too and she or he angrily refuses her daughter’s supply to go to a pleasant nursing residence. The truth is, Ying, like all her neighbours, has been supplied a compensation to surrender her flat, as the entire constructing (and neighbour) is present process a large means of acquisition, eviction/relocation and demolition. Understandably, Ying doesn’t wish to depart; her entire life and recollections are there, and no cash or the attract of a snug nursing residence might repay that loss. However there isn’t a lot she will be able to do to cease the method.

Yang Liu pens, directs and edits a brief however highly effective episode within the lifetime of a girl who represents an unlimited slice of China’s inhabitants, affected by the battle over the demolition and redevelopment happening throughout the entire nation. China’s city housing “chaiqian” (demolition and eviction/relocation) has grow to be a subject of nice conflicts in the latest years, a controvert political concern involving energy of native officers who’re pushed to ship financial progress, equity of compensation and the concept itself of progress.

“A Matter of Time” gently addresses all these points in a humanistic vogue. By the emotional misery and the psychological deterioration of Ying who’s within the early stage of dementia, we’re offered with a sorrow and fatalistic portrait of each a girl and a rustic whose reminiscence is crumbling away. Bombastic phrases from the TV newsreader resonate in Yang’s front room; residents are exhorted to know the non secular essence of Xi Jinping’s ideas on “Socialism with Chinese language Traits” within the new period, and the way they relate to land acquisition, demolition, relocation and different very important duties. Phrases that, within the context of Yang’s modest front room, full of recollections and relics, create a robust distinction, making them void of any that means. Cleverly, the script hints to at least one extra contentious facet of the identical downside. The redevelopment course of, apart from evicting many city residents, additionally offers work to a number of different folks – like Ying’s daughter who works for a development firm – making the collective advantages sadly clashing with the rights of the people.

Yang Cao within the position of Ying is actually extraordinary. She infuses the character with a fiery, don-quixote-esque dedication, combined with the sheer terror for what’s to return; the title of the film is all in her eyes within the closing scene. Her willowy determine, frail however un-snappable, is fantastically caught by Qingzi Wang’s cinematography, particularly in intimate closeups or within the lengthy photographs the place she paces again and ahead throughout the altering panorama of her neighbours.

Two big points like age concern and concrete housing, one of many people, the opposite of the group, are addressed and paired in “A matter of Time”. Nevertheless, with measured storytelling and lightness of contact, the movie manages to current them and dignify them by means of the eyes of a relatable character, within the tiny span of quarter-hour. The movie is Yang Liu’s closing work for her Grasp in Wonderful Arts within the Movie & Media Diploma at Emerson School; hopefully the start of a fruitful profession within the movie business.



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