Kan Shang Qu Hen Mei (Little Red Flowers) (2006) (China)

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Kan Shang Qu Hen Mei (Little Red Flowers) (2006) (China)

Postby hengcs » Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:59 am



Director: Zhang Yuan
Cast: Dong Bo Wen, Ning Yuan Yuan

The film garnered C.I.C.A.E. Award at Berlin International Film Festival 2006 .


Synopsis:
Based on a novel of the same title by Wang Shuo, it relates the story of a kid's rebellious life in a kindergarten. However, to those who read between the lines, there are some political undertones, as it highlights issues of conformity, individualism/collectivism, etc ...

Note: You may know another of Wang Shuo's novel being adapted, it is In the Heat of the Sun (Yang Guang Can Lan De Ri Zi).

PS:

(i) Personally, I prefer the Chinese title. It is loosely translated to ... "When you look at it, it seems so beautiful" ... IMHO, the Chinese phrase could also capture a dual meaning -- that it is only nice "superficially" ... at least it is better than "Little Red Flowers" ...

(ii) In a different China poster, it depicts the kid flying in the sky, the caption reads "zhe shi jie you gao gao zai shang de gui ju, ye you zi you ben fang de ling hun" ... suggesting that "although there are always higher authority and constraints (i.e., rules), there will always exist the unbounded/unrestrained human spirits ... "



My thoughts:

-- It is one of those films that adults and kids will look at it differently. And when an adult reviews the film, I believe there is already some slight "bias" ... becos the story/the scenes/the symbolism do matter ... and for a few audiences, they may be appalled by the amount of nudity (common for that period, that location, and that age) ... just like the "doctor's game" that the kids play ... and frankly, it seems to be a film targeted at adults rather than the kids ...

-- Most noteworthy, to me, was the ending ...
* spoiler * ... the kid finally decided to escape and run away ... but guess what he saw outside ... he saw this smart looking group of adults marching in pride, each with a big red flower abreast ... at the end, the kid finally lies asleep on the rock ... * end of spoiler * ...
it could have so many interpretations ...
... (a) let's be at "peace" with all these ... no matter how we try to change the world ... we just can't ... it depicts the reality of life, that at times, despite one's effort, everything returns back to square one ...
... (b) we are all often too worn out by all these, we simply need a rest ...
... (c) at the end of it all, we may not be liberated in physique, but how abt in "soul" (either when we DREAM in our rest/sleep or when we die) ...
... (d) that in the adult world, the kids are often overlooked and forgotten ...

-- In the film, it also reveals the irony in life ...
... (a) that despite our lament of these conformity, we do try to abide by the rules ...
... (b) that depsite us "laughing" at the incentives/system, we are also culprits who try all means to gain recognition/reward ...
... (c) that despite our press for rules, we are also the ones to bend it ... esp. for politically reasons ... so, it is HUMAN who dictates ...
... (d) that what seems like "correct/appropriate" in the adults' world may not be as relevant in the kids' world ...
etc

-- Despite all these "depth" in the film (which I believe is what helped the film win the awards), some audience may find the story/editing not "absorbing/compelling" enough ... to me, that was the main weakness of the film (if at all) ... to some extent, one may feel that the film is kind of long (even though it is not, in terms of minutes) ...

-- Nonetheless, go watch for the performance of the kid!


Conclusion:
Recommended. Go for its duality of meaning and the main protagonist! ... but be warned that the story is not too absorbing (feeling kind of long at times) ...
hengcs
 


Re: Kan Shang Qu Hen Mei (Little Red Flowers) (2006) (China)

Postby A » Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:21 pm

I saw this at the Berlin Film Festival, and it is one of the best films of the year imo.

I actually like the title Little red Flowers, as it sounds so safe and nice before you watch the film, but after the experience is over, you see it in a different light.
Do you know if this film was allowed to be shown in China, hengcs? I would suspect such an effort to be banned, as I thought it was a direct attack on authorities of all sorts. I found the "meandering" you mention to be actually a plus. The direction was imo so assured that it had no problems adressing a wide variety of issues and breaking out of the narrow "genre" concept which it at first established. Breaking some "rules" of established narrative filmmaking and storytelling continuity felt like part of the message to me.
I hope this gets into regular distribution, but I agree that it isn't a children's film and shouldn't be marketed as such.
I also found the screenplay and story to be excellent and had no problems with the shifts and ellipses. I think it helped that some things remain unexplained. I agree the actors are great.

Definitely a must see.

Btw, have you seen any other films by Zhang Yuan, hengcs?
I only have his Erzi (1996) on VHS, for which he won the Tiger award and the FIPRESCI prize at Rotterdam, but which I didn't find absorbing enough. Maybe I should revisit it.
A
 

Re: Kan Shang Qu Hen Mei (Little Red Flowers) (2006) (China)

Postby hengcs » Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:02 am

Hi

Little Red Flowers is allowed to be screened in China (after all, the book is allowed) ...

I have also watched his East Palace West Palace ... a controversial film ... anyway, it was one of the earlier films starring "Hu Jun" ... he is now very well known ...

I have gotten the DVD for Lv Cha, but I have not watched them ... As for Erzi (Sons) and Beijing Bastard, that time I did try to get the DVDs, but later the website email to say they are out of stock, Seventeen Years is out on DVD too ... maybe i will try to get them again ...
hengcs
 


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