Al di lÓ delle montagne

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Un film di Jia Zhangke. Con Zhao Tao, Zhang Yi, Jing Dong Liang, Zijian Dong, Sylvia Chang.
Titolo originale Shan He Gu Ren. Drammatico, durata 131 min. - Cina, Francia, Giappone 2015. - Cinema uscita giovedý 5 maggio 2016. MYMONETRO Al di lÓ delle montagne * * * 1/2 - valutazione media: 3,80 su 24 recensioni di critica, pubblico e dizionari.

Polaroid of Mountains May Depart Valutazione 4 stelle su cinque

di CineFoglio

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sabato 9 novembre 2019

Before «Ash Is Purest White».
The Chinese director sets the plot in his home city of Fenyang describing a common triangle of love starring Tao, a shopkeeper, Liang, a poor miner and Jingsheng, rich and successful owner of a gas station. 
The entire film is chaptered in Three Acts were the first homages the 90’s Chinese cinema. The long-introduction is emphasised filmed with an aspect ratio of 4:3 as an old cathodic-TV and lo-fi aesthetic of the image.  Also, the progress of the story-line is marked through a change of the portion of the screen. An increment during the second part underlines the separation from the young full-of-dreams life, until a compression during the epilogue, cutting down the upper and the lower part of the screen testifies the loss of a happy future followed, sadly, by the forgetfulness of the family roots.
The first part takes place by the end of the Millenium, in 1999. The first Act shows the drama around the protagonist’s lives from the innocent courtship until the marriage in «white veil» - Chinese rural society is changing and is absorbing stereotyped icons and habits coming from the West world. 
It ends with the leave of Liang after Tao rejected him, facing to a far from home land in search of a chance to live with dignity – the internal work-migration is one of the main-topic of Jia’s filmography, 
The second arc, 14 years later, follows Liang coming back to his hometown with his new family for medical treatments when he discovers Tao divorced. Now, the real protagonist of the narrative core emerges shifting the attention to the relationship between Tao and her son. Dollar is now living in Shanghai with his father to reach a «better future» in a capitalistic and international environment losing his native culture and identity.  
The third part moves the playground of the film to Australia with another time-jump of eleven years, in a sci-fi future with transparent smartphones and attractive hi-tech blackboards. However, to underline the paradox of modernity and progress, the just-eat delivery is still executed by young operators instead of drones. 
The aseptic and uninspired life doesn’t help the memory of Dollars, who looks for that mother’s care his father took away from him, surrogated in an Edipo’s relation with his teacher - his silenced cry flies to Tao as a distant echo, carried by an unknown west-wind. 
The dream of going to West, as the name of Tao’s son «Dollars» reminds, is probably the key to the story. It’s pleased with the beginning with the VW red and trendy car bought by Jingsheng as a prestigious symbol and praise of german technology, ironically declined in a mere VW taxi in 2014.
Religious symbols are everywhere in the picture from the icons of Guan Yu and his legendary weapon, carried by a random child in the streets of Fenyang, to Tao’s father funeral and the devotional honouring of the presents. 
Mountains May Depart talks about the vulnerability of something assumed immortal and un-changing. The resilience of a simple emancipated woman that chose to stay - dancing alone as Lelio’s Greta - separated from his child. She’s lost in deceptive and divergent floods: one to the future and his foreign son; the second blows deeply into her tiny kitchen, stocked in the memories of her past.

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