Image from 'One Second', by Zhang Yimou.
The beautiful and smiling face of Lieutenant Ripley, that elegant lady who full of panic and courage faced the invulnerable monster in a masterpiece of suspense cinema (or simply, of cinema) entitled
floods the streets of San Sebastián.
It's the fantastic Sigourney Weaver.
This year represents the image of the festival.
Hopefully the cinema we see is at the height of the talent and distinction that this legendary actress exudes.
She won't come, but it's nice to see her face everywhere.
'The Great Wall' erected between Hollywood and China is reeling
What is a film festival for?
And Zhang Yimou has been in charge of inaugurating the festival and the official section.
Splendor accompanied his cinema for a long time.
Although I have serious communication problems with most of the oriental cinema, the one that enjoyed infinite credit and veneration on the part of international critics, I did not remain blind and deaf to the art displayed by this powerful and sensitive director.
I have grateful memories of films like
Red Sorghum, Ju Dou: Chrysanthemum Seed, The Red Lantern, Not One Less
and some more.
I stopped being interested when he discovered how profitable flying daggers, kung fu, circus stunts, endless fights, and all those tiring things could be.
I lost track of him without the slightest nostalgia.
Nor have I reviewed that work that ever moved me.
Just in case.
Yimou's return to a personal cinema with
, fleeing from the easy spectacle, has caused me neither cold nor heat.
At the start I see a man with the gesture of an implacable sleepwalker who tirelessly travels dusty or desert roads.
It inevitably reminds me of the mysterious protagonist from
He walked the roads looking for a lost love.
it also tracks any footprints of the missing daughter. We will go knowing that the Cultural Revolution led by the Great Helmsman at the cost of millions of deaths and prisoners, of murdered crowds or those that starved to death, condemned this man to a re-education camp, that he managed to escape from him, and that feeling destroyed only yearns to find a clue of his young. You think you can find it on one of the triumphant newscasts that are shown over and over again in town cinemas, telling the public about the collective happiness that the glorious Revolution has given them.
On his desperate path this broken man will meet a sullen girl capable of anything to donate a little illusion to his little brother. After multiple confrontations these two people will discover that they need each other. The story is painful. Zhang Yimou dares to criticize the perpetual manipulation of the people, the censorship, the fear and the punishments perpetrated by Maoism, the political relevance and the power acquired by a projectionist charged with making the incessant propaganda of an implacable government.
And okay. It is very well to question the benefits that these masses of indoctrinated or repressed people received, the achievements of that revolution that was going to banish injustice and achieve the common good. But the narrative force, subtlety and lyricism that characterized Zhang Yimou's cinema are absent here. There is nothing that irritates me in
but also nothing that I am passionate about. Good intentions do not guarantee that the stories are well told, that they fascinate you or that they excite you.