Type: Analysis
Pages: 4 | Words: 964
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Kant defined aesthetic as both, “the analysis of taste and the analysis of sensible cognition or intuition”. A film is aesthetic when it portrays its message in a meaningful way without distraction or contradiction of the facts, and when all the necessary tools are used to make it more classic, substantial, assertive, and influential. Moreover, although, the script should be strong, the affect of cinematography and direction cannot be neglected, as it brings material from the paper to the significant staging of the event, which a viewer can co-relate and thus, enjoy.

‘Lost in Beijing’

Lost in Beijing is a 2007 Chinese film directed by Li Yu, a well known director in China. This film very adequately portrays the underbelly of Chinese society with all its corrupt and poisonous ideology. The story takes place in Beijing slums, where the newly wed couple An Kun and Liu Pingguo moved to dilapidated apartment. Their married life becomes topsy turvy when Liu Pinggua’s boss tries to rape her while her husband shockingly watches it from outside. Much of the story, later, revolves around the money involved due to the pregnancy of Liu, with her husband taking the money and her boss substituting for her wife’s barrenness gave plentiful.

Even though, the production value of the movie is quite strong it didn’t assert any significant influence on its viewer with the weak handling of the script. The script itself felt weak and written in haste. The direction is good, but the camera work at time felt jumpy and tries to capture more than what should be needed. The background score is better than most Li Yu past movies, capturing the essential theme of the movie. The whole Beijing slum capture is fabulous, with its rotting core and disheveled state. The ambience created in this movie felt short and hazy and is concentrated more on showing unnecessary sex scenes. This is precisely why the first few screening of the movie suffered the critic’s wrath and finally after just few months prior of release it was banned in China due to its shocking nature of display. The film is riddled with technical errors from both productions to acting, which many critics identified and rated their reviews accordingly. The first and the biggest blunder of the movie is the rape scene, which shows quite conveniently Liu’s husband happened to be present outside the window of the room in which Liu was being rapped. The film failed to show any artistic theme, while, a lot could have been done to procure using the slum properly, but it didn’t.

‘Still life’

Still life is a 2006 Chinese movie directed by Jia Zhangke, the movie is short in the small village of Fengjie, which is slowly being flooded due to the building of the Three Gorges Dam. The story revolves around two people Sanming and Shen Hong who have come in search of their spouses. This movie is much more tough, complex, dense, allusive, and mysterious, than any feature Jia has made to date. Like most of his feature films, Still Life presents characters on some sort of quest as in this case the search for their partners. Even though, the plot seems a bit more confusing at times, jumping from one case to another, the outline of a well-behaved narrative—actually, two narratives is present, in which characters try to solve problems, proceeding chronologically towards a late climax and well deserved end.

While, both people didn’t got the happy ending they journey for, but in true sense they did, releasing their soul and seeking redemption and salvation and finally putting their suffering souls at ease.

The camerawork is laid out perfectly to fuse the scene with the acting, focusing mainly on physicality of the human emotions and landscape. It is precisely in the intersection of these two obsessive imageries that the film generates its own particular beauty: namely that of bodies walking through wastelands. Both main characters pick their way, without comment, through this post-disaster landscape, two individual lives persisting within an absolutely inhospitable environment. One of the things the film celebrates is this miracle of human persistence: how the necessary—survival—trumps the impossible.   

The best scene in this movie is the final parting of Shen Hong who found out her husband is having an affair with his wealthy investor. When she and her husband at last meet, she simply walks away. As her husband pursues her, she reveals to him that she has fallen in love with someone else and wishes to divorce. When he asks with whom and when she had fallen in love, she responds, “Does it really matter?”. The background music in this scene is so remarkable and touchy that anyone who watches this gets numb eyes.

Combination of Different Aspects in Both Movies

If we compare both of the movies, we find that both deals with human emotions and sentiments on different levels.  While, one shows the evil of corrupt society, the other shows the strong side of love, reunion and parting, each with its own circumference of vulnerability. Still Life put better show than Lost in Beijing on the creative approach to the script, the overall aesthetic sense, the camera work and the background score, however, the latter takes vote in better story telling and laying out of the scenes. If we check the overall gross revenue of the movies and the awards winning and nominations, Still Life wins by a mile.

No movie is a movie which fails to entertain its audience. No matter how much techniques, budget and latest gadgetry is used, if a film fails to portray its message in a meaningful way, it fails to fully grasps the art of film making. Artistic approach in a film is very important, as it bring together various aspects and fuses them together to make a beautiful picture.

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