Previously at the ICA - Films
9 Oct 2016
BFI Film Festival: 245 features. 74 countries. 15 cinemas. 12 days. One Festival.
While gathering wood one day, a man’s son wanders off, returning later to announce that he is the spirit of his mother, the man’s dead wife. The father takes this in stride. The boy/mother then says that they must uproot a tree from their yard and take it with them when they relocate from their village to a tower block on the other side of a nearby mountain. From these uncanny beginnings, Life After Life spins an enigmatic web as the duo interact with neighbours and family members in their current lives and the next. Produced by Jia Zhangke, this remarkable debut immediately announces Zhang Hanyi as a filmmaker with a skill for subtly teasing out social relations, at once building a vivid picture of an industrialising China and giving us an attractively matter-of-fact ghost story.
With a poised visual style that presents the world in wide-angle, and with a sprinkling of wry humour, this is a deadpan supernatural treat.
(Notes by Kate Taylor)
Life After Life (Zhi fan ye mao), dir. Zhang Hanyi, Hong Kong 2016, 80 mins, cert. 15.