All Tomorrow's Parties
Time Out saysFinanced internationally but shot underground in China, Yu's dystopian fantasy centres on four characters liberated from lifetimes of thought-control who find themselves with only the dimmest idea what to do with their freedom. In a near-future Asia where people speak Chinese and Korean interchangeably, two brothers, Zhuai (Diao, the director of Uniform) and Mian (Zhao, from Unknown Pleasures), are arrested as suspected dissidents and sent for re-education to a gulag run by the ruling Guidao sect. Both form hesitant relationships with women inmates. But when offscreen regime change opens the camp, Mian kills himself playing with an unexploded bomb and Zhuai's girlfriend Xuelan (Cho) goes off with her son. Strong visually, weak dramatically, this feels like a grab-bag of ideas in search of a cogent script. But the atmosphere is potently realised, and the notion that solitude is more likely to be fulfilling than partnership comes through loud and clear.