Compétition internationale
46th edition
NOVEMBER 15>23, 2024, Nantes - France

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The High Life
(Xialu Shige)

by ZHAO Dayong

The High Life

After several acclaimed documentaries including Street Life and Ghost Town, Zhao Dayong’s first dramatic feature might feel at first like another portrait of desolation of contemporary urban China. In Guangzhou, in a so-called « urban-village », provisional slums where people flock in from the countryside hoping to scrape out an existence from the nations new economic boom, Jia Ming runs a phony employment agency, scamming money out of desperate new arrivals from the countryside. Around three archetypal figures, the small-time criminal, the prostitute in love and the naive peasant, Zhao Dayong closely follows his characters in their tiresome race for small profit that erodes their humanity. The absurdist streak of black humor effectively avoids a naturalist portrait of the situation while revealing the cynical mechanics of ever lasting mismatched relationships between human beings. Imprisoned after a failed pyramid scheme, Jia Ming in turn becomes Dian Qiu’s plaything, a poetry-writing cynic warder who toys with his prisoners by making them read his biting, highly sexual verse, full of ruminations on the Tiananmen Massacre. Decidedly nobody is at home in this new Chinese world. JB

  • Titre français
    The High Life
  • Original title
    Xialu Shige
  • Scénario
    Zhao Dayong
  • Photo
    Xue Gang
  • Montage
    Zhao Dayong, Wei Chunyi
  • Assistant réalisateur
    Li Qing
  • Son
    Wei Chunyi
  • Interprétation
    Qiu Hong, Liu Yanfei, Shen Shaoqiu, Su Qingyi, Diao Lei
  • Producteur délégué
    David Bandurski, Zhao Dayong
  • Décors
    Wang Jian
  • Ventes internationales
    Lantern Films / David Bandurski :

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