SIFF Dispatch 2

Cannes is over but the Seattle International Film Festival is just getting underway. Here are more reviews from SIFF, which are currently running on GreenCine Daily:

Red Awn SIFF welcomed the North American premiere of The Red Awn, the directorial debut of Cai Shangjun (screenwriter of Zhang Yang’s films, including Shower), in its opening weekend. The film leaves the urban cultures of Zhang’s drama for a rural story of a father returning, after five years away looking for work in the city, to his home village where his wife has passed away and his son has had him pronounced legally dead. Yongtao, now a teenager, simmers with rage and resentment toward his long absent dad, who has left a veritable orphan since his mother’s death, and the grudge continues even as they head out together to harvest the wheat fields with a local man who owns a combine. Cai is more circumspect than Zhang, both as a director and a writer of his own material, leaving us to put together what the father’s life has been like in the city and why he’s so forgiving of his son’s increasingly defiant and destructive actions.

Meanwhile, he shows us a culture in rapid transition, where the rural folk (especially the young) flee the farms for work in the city and small armies of independent combines fan out over the countryside and compete for work. There are no tidy scenes of forgiveness or explanation, only a father whose astounding tolerance and protection of his ferociously angry son is a measure of his guilt and sense of failure, and a son who slowly comes around to grasping the chance that his father offers him.

Also reviewed: Elite Squad, The Fall, Foster Child and Dario Argento’s Mother of Tears.

See reviews here.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website (www.streamondemandathome.com). I’m a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org).. I’ve written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, GreenCine.com, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View.

I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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