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Cathy Yan, Dead Pigs


roddy
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Has anyone seen the film Dead Pigs (Youtube trailer, 海上浮城), by director Cathy Yan, who did Birds of Prey? Watched it yesterday and the two hours flew by - which is unusual for me, usually anything over 90 minutes has me planning snack breaks. I can see not everyone liking it, but personally - I laughed, I cried, I tried to figure out if I need to watch all the other DC universe films before Birds of Prey.

 

The trailer is a fair representation of what you get, I think, and I won't try and sum up the film for you. Oh, go on then, I will. It's Jia Zhangke (executive producer) but faster and with humour.

 

I watched it on Mubi, which you can get a 30 day free trial for here, not sure how widely available it is elsewhere, suspect it's exclusive to Mubi just now.

 

Language wise - not great, unless you're embedded in rural Shanghai and need to pick up the lingo. That said, I felt as I watched it was paying attention to how people code switch and shift away from Mandarin as they get stressed. No Chinese subtitles on Mubi either. Kind of made me wish I could understand all the dialogue - the script in the bits I could understand was great, and the young lad's

Spoiler

你爱的人,你帮得了 

might as well be what China's millennia-long preference for four character phrases was building up to, no?

 

This is my second in a continuing series of posts about pig-related culture.

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3 hours ago, roddy said:

Has anyone seen the film Dead Pigs

 

I have, and liked it very much too. Unusually humorous for a Chinese film, though the subject is rather sad. Also sadly, very much a global problem rather than an exclusive Chinese one. Kathy Yan is a director I want to follow, she seems amazingly talented. The acting was very good too.   

Spoiler

What did you think of the sudden switch of genre into a typical Hollywood musical near the end? It came so unexpectedly, and was shockingly funny. 

 

I just ordered Birds of Prey, the DVD is on offer at £4.99 in Amazon UK

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Glad you liked it. Having read a few reviews, I think one common comment was that it's quite a lightweight treatment of serious subjects - but I'm fine with that. Not everyone has to be Jia Zhangke or Ken Loach, and it's a hell of a watch. The performances are, as you say, very good. 

 

I'm curious as to what Chinese audiences make of it, although I don't know how widely it's been seen. 

 

Spoiler

Ok, so. I was a bit primed for that bit, as I'd glanced in a review or somewhere that there was a musical number, plus I've watched a couple of things over the last year which have chucked in unexpected song / dance routines* and have enjoyed them. So I was predisposed to like it, and like it I did. Even welled up a little. If anything I was a little surprised at how restrained it was - I wouldn't have been surprised if they'd all started tap-dancing and flying about on wires, they'd sure as hell earned it.

 

*Without giving away spoilers, I very strongly recommend both: Giri / Haji, which is a gorgeous little six-parter, and the very strong-starting (but I haven't seen Season 3 yet Babylon Berlin )(3:46 trailer? Who's got that much time?) Both because they're excellent, but if you like a bit of song and dance seasoning your drama, you won't be disappointed (give Babylon Berlin till episode 3, I think)

 

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2 hours ago, roddy said:

I'm curious as to what Chinese audiences make of it

I was wondering too. I hadn't seen the film mentioned anywhere until MUBI brought it in. On this side, the western critics seem to have loved it but the public weren't so positive. 

 

I'll check those series you mention, thanks. There's almost too much to watch! 

  

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I'd love to know what you think about them (especially if you get to Season 3 of Babylon Berlin, it did kind of lose me a bit towards the end of Season 2). We should perhaps have a non-Chinese TV recommendation topic. Actually, that reminds me I did try to start one some time ago, but nobody bit. 

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