Documentary Review: On Stage (2021) by Zhang Yaoyuan

Second Hand Rose is a Chinese language rock band from Beijing. The band is understood for its daring mixture of conventional Chinese language devices with stable rock & roll fundamentals and performances that embrace intense stage play parts. Zhang Yaoyuan, who’s at present doing a PhD in Movies on the Tokyo College of the Arts, decides to deal with Liang Lengthy, the lead singer of the band, within the month earlier than his New Yr’s Eve live performance in 2019, when he additionally shot his very first movie, “Little White Boat”, directed by Geng Zihan.

On Stage is screening at Osaka Asian Film Festival

“On Stage” is an uncommon documentary, significantly when one considers its fundamental theme. For starters, Zhang was allowed to observe Brother Lengthy, as many seek advice from him within the film, fairly carefully, earlier than, throughout and after his work. Nevertheless there are only a few moments within the movie the place he’s truly alone with the documentarian, excluding one the place he takes a break in a personal bathtub. Most likely, his life, as is the case with many stars, consists of only a few personal moments, however nonetheless the hole within the portrait is kind of important, even when he presents numerous tales of his previous, and his present ideas, whereas recorded. 

Moreover, though the main target is on music and the actual efficiency, the footage of the band truly performing may be very transient, with the epicenter of the film mendacity, nearly completely, on what is occurring backstage. Once more this could possibly be attested to rights points, however the hole turns into even larger by way of this method. Thirdly, the documentary doesn’t appear to incorporate any type of damaging side relating to the “protagonist”, perhaps excluding that he drinks lots, in an method that could possibly be described as an eulogy. Lastly, and this time in a facet that truly advantages the film considerably, Zhang has chosen to shoot the entire thing in sharp-contrast black and white, an method that works exceptionally nicely in visible phrases.

Aside from these parts, nonetheless, the film emerges as reasonably straightforward to look at, for numerous further causes. Essentially the most important one is that Liang Lengthy is a charismatic persona, a reasonably open man, full of humor and kindness, who’s steadily fairly pleasing to simply watch. The moments he drinks with pals, those when he talks to the director, those when he tells his tales, and those he’s getting his make-up on are the highlights of this component. Moreover, numerous peripheral characters and feedback are additionally fairly attention-grabbing, with the situation scouter who talks about Shunji Iwai and Japanese administrators normally, the dialogue about North Korea, and the general attitudes of varied musicians and actors “behind the digital camera” being fairly pleasing. These features, together with the respectable job performed within the enhancing, additionally as a result of at 79 minutes, the film doesn’t overextend its welcome, are those that carry the movie for almost all of its period. 

Ultimately, and on a private observe, the documentary made me to need to meet Brother Lengthy (and have a drink or two with him) and likewise to look concerning the music of “Second Hand Rose”, which I assume fulfilled the aim of the movie, even when Zhang Yaoyuan selected a sideway route to realize it. 

By IPTV

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