I was asked to write this preview for A Small Cinema prior to it’s screening in Liverpool’s China Town as part of the 2011 AND Festival. Seeing it on the open-air, big screen was a totally different experience to watching it via YouTube clips. The atmosphere was amazing! You can read more about my volunteer work with AND Festival here.
Tsui Hark portrays the legend of the Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountains and their quest to save universe so expertly through an array of cinematic devices, so far ahead of its 1983 era. The Hong Kong, supernatural fantasy is everything it’s genre category connotes with pioneering visual effects and positivity dizzying edits.
Ti, a young scout boy takes a tumble down a crevice in the infamous magic mountains which leads to his employment as the trusty apprentice of spirited fighter and all-round ‘goodie’, Ting Yin. The duo encounter a monk, Hsiao Yu who is all so well rounded but fails to get along with Ting and it falls on the young scout to collaborate with Hsiao’s wingman in a battle against the disillusioned universe.
The pair are given 49 days to locate two swords which are the only weapons that will ever defeat The Blood Demon who is making a valiant and fairly successful attempt to destroy the world. I’m not going to say to much and ruin the film but constant action in parallel with a romantic love story, as Ti falls head over heels for a beautiful countess promises to keep you gripped.
Socio-political issues and subliminal morals of togetherness are most definitely apparent if you can possibly manage to see through the onslaught of dynamic action leaving seat edge-bound for the film’s entirety. All manner of beast launch across the screen at lightening speeds inducing a thrilling race to keep up with the action – my palms have only just dried!
A total abandonment of gritty realism, from aerial battles to deadly eyebrows and evil temples, showcases the director and his cast’s remarkable ability to emerge the audience in a story, which is so far from being believable yet so still so engrossing.