Documentary Review: Dark Red Forest (2021) by Huaqing Jin

Yearly, ten thousand Buddhist nuns collect on high of the Tibetan plateau in Sichuan Province to hunt enlightenment in hostile climate circumstances. Within the Yarchen monastery, they construct small wood huts, paying homage to coffins, through which they spend 100 coldest days of the yr. Their on a regular basis life consists of working, ready in line to obtain meals, and attending non secular periods with their gurus, of their path in direction of enlightenment, in a sequence of moderately intimate periods that additionally present the belief the director loved from his “topics”. Huaqing Jin follows the nuns fairly intently, repeatedly included within the aforementioned periods, which really happen in moderately cramped “cells”, however the true marvel of the documentary is the best way he has captured their presence within the space, in a mode that justifies the title utterly. 

“Darkish Purple Forest ” is screening on the 24th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

Other than the aforementioned on a regular basis parts, the documentary additionally options group teachings, with gurus instructing segments of Buddhist writings in a considerably theatrical vogue, whereas a competition, the praying within the snow, and the silence that dominates their interactions additionally take heart stage. Lastly, relating to the narrative of the documentary, the Chinese language authorities’s choices to relocate the nuns from the monastery again to the place they have been born, brings a sequence of ripples of their lives, as lots of them haven’t been again for many years, and are utterly misplaced, each actually and metaphorically. That the explanations behind this choice are by no means revealed, considerably faults the documentary, however, evidently, Huaging Jin’s focus is “n representing the best way the characters really feel and what they actually take into consideration in that second, as an alternative of telling the story and telling the viewers what’s occurring”, as per his personal phrases. 

Probably the most interesting facet right here nevertheless, is certainly the cinematography, which may solely be described as really majestic. Beginning with the presence of the hundreds of nuns of their crimson garments and the equally coated cells they stay in within the winter, persevering with with the presentation of the realm in all its picturesque glory, and ending with the astonishing night time photographs, the job completed within the visible facet of the documentary is really wondrous to have a look at, primarily carrying it from starting to finish. To realize that, Huaqing carried out each trick within the e-book, with intense shut ups, lengthy photographs, blurring pictures, drones, and all the pieces between capturing each element of life within the notably harsh atmosphere. On the similar time, the visuals are a vital component within the ritualism that dominates the narrative, primarily dictating the imposing ambiance of the film. The second facet that strikes in that regard is the sound, with the chants and the assorted folks songs which might be heard all through including much more to the general aesthetics.

The job completed within the enhancing can also be high notch, once more by the director, with the succession of scenes being preferrred, to ensure that every of them to function a reduction from the opposite, in an strategy that makes the documentary fairly simple to observe, even past its visuals. 

Not rather more to say, “Darkish Purple Forest” is an astonishing film that undoubtedly deserves to be watched on the massive display screen. 



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