Full Circle

"Fei yue lao ren yuan" (English captions) is a full-blooded bunch of sentimental claptrap (the audience really DID clap!) that ordinary people just love! It is from China, and the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival screening audience burst into applause when it ended.

Like many Asian films, this is a little too long, a little too sentimental and a little over-acted with too many tears, but this award-winning piece, directed by Zhang Yang, is so loaded with clichés, we couldn't help but respond. (I have a theory: clichés become clichés because they work!) Beautifully photographed by Yang Tao in northeastern China, with wonderful scenic shots of sun-flower fields, rolling grasslands, grazing cattle and galloping horses, we were spellbound. The charming music on the soundtrack made things even better.

We start in a home for the elderly and are treated to all the indignities old people suffer the world over. As we become better acquainted, we learn some specific complaints, e.g., family neglect, Alzheimer's, bad health, incontinence, and worst of all, boredom. These irrepressible geezers rebel against their own version of an unbending Nurse Ratched and sneak out with a newly purchased bus, to go compete in a variety show in a nearby city on the coast.

This little road trip has its own challenges and diversions but everything is determinedly upbeat. We very much enjoyed the bittersweet ending.
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Here's a SIFF Preview (no captions, sorry):
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