AN ESTRANGED PARADISE
(Mosheng Tiantang) (2002, China) Directed by Yang Fudong, DVD, 76 min.
As the modern art scene has grown in China, Shanghai-based Yang Fudong, trained as a painter, has become famous for his photographs, films and videos. For AN ESTRANGED PARADISE (which took five years to edit), he yielded to his trademark fascination for crisp, moody, black-and-white 35mm cinematography. The film starts with a meditation on the composition of space in Chinese painting. It then nonchalantly wanders through the streets, railroad tracks, apartment buildings, waterfront and outskirts of the southern city of Hangzhou, following the protagonist's emotional vicissitudes. There are shades of Jim Jarmusch, of Godard's BREATHLESS and allusions to 1930s Shanghai cinema. More importantly, Yang uses camera, lighting and cinematic space to outline the internal landscape of Chinese modernity.
Presented in Mandarin dialogue with English subtitles.