PERPETUAL MOTION (2005)
China 90 minutes
Directed by Ning Ying, Written by Ning Ying, Liu Sola, Hung Huang
Cast: Hung Huang, Liu Sola, Li Qingin, Ping Yanni, Zhang Hanzhi
Perpetual Motion was introduced as “a sassy film” and indeed, it started off with a bang.
A wife in her 40s wakes up to an empty half of bed, where has her husband gone? She finds the house empty, listens to phone messages, checks her husband’s laptop and finds an erotic e-mail letter. The letter makes intimate reference to her, implying that a close friend is her husband’s lover.
She plans a Chinese New Year party for three successful, intellectual friends, of whom she is suspicious. They dine on jasmine flavored chicken feet; play mah-jongg, exchange bracingly frank discussions of sexual experiences, watch fireworks from the courtyard. Hints are dropped to feel her guests out.
And then they lost me, dreams ensue, an attic is explored, they watch a garish New Year’s celebration on TV, folks drift off to sleep. In the early morning, the phone rings. When the wife announces the message, her husband’s lover goes into hysterics.
The film is interesting in looking at Chinese history through the eyes of 21st century women. The close-up cinematography of the forty-something women’s heavily lipsticked faces is fantastic; the scene of the women eating the chicken feet is mesmerizing. Each character is well drawn, and yet it seemed as though the writers lost their way, and though they found the end, they took us on a foggy journey.
The San Francisco International Film Festival is running now through May 4. I”m volunteering at the festival and plan to attend as many of the films as I can work in to my schedule. Bear in mind that, for the most part, these are independent films and many have not been picked up for distribution, so they may not be playing at a “theater near you” anytime soon. On the other hand, some of the foreign films may have already been released in Europe.
As a public service, I will post brief reviews. My ratings are based on
5 stars ***** with a tilde ~ being half-a-star.
Happy viewing, or in any case, keep your eyes on rectorsite.com.