Directed by: Larry Yang
Adapted Screenplay: Larry Yang
Music by: Nicolas Errèra
Cinematography by: Patrick Murguia
Starring: Yueting Lang, Ziyi Wang, Taishen Cheng, Ailei Yu, Jin Guo, Caigen Xu, Chendong Zhao; Siying Li.
Language: Chinese Mandarin
Subtitle Language: English
Based on: Lu Xun Literary Prize recipient novel of the same name written by Ge Shuiping.
Mountain Cry is a Chinese tale of a mute girl, Hong Xia (Yueting Lang), who moves to a remote rural village with her abusive husband, La Hong (Yu Ailei), and two children.
After her husband is killed by a detonation used in a badger trap set in the woods, a young villager, Han Chong (Ziyi Wang) is blamed for the accident. The village council then forces Han to look after the young widow and her children until the debt is paid for killing her husband.
Mountain Cry has been beautifully adapted to the screen with director and screenwriter Larry Yang relating this amazing story of Chinese village life and the two main characters slowly falling in love. But this film is so much more than a romance, there’s crime here and mystery.
The characters show more of themselves with each action, with each scene adding weight to the adage, show don’t tell. There was such a gentle touch here with tragedy and longing, freedom given and taken away, responsibility and loyalty and love all revealed like leaves slowly falling.
When novels are adapted to the screen there can be the feeling of parts missing or the story being rushed or glossed over, but Mountain Cry was a complicated story given depth, revealed slowly allowing the audience to become absorbed by the mystery of Hong Xia’s life. Not surprising that the film won Shanghai International Film Festival Media Award Best Director Award and Shanghai International Film Festival Media Award Best Scriptwriter Award.
Although set in 1984, there was a classic feel to the story: old fashioned tools used for farming, handmade paper and painted writing, and the echoing sound of voices and drums like the heartbeat of the vast mountains.
The scenery was captured beautifully by cinematographer, Patrick Murguia. And the soundtrack a fitting accompaniment (Nicolas Errèra) to this classic Chinese tale. But it was the characters who were the focus, and their relationships.
Although a tragedy, the story was lifted by the simple warmth of Han Chong and his ginger kitten, but you need a quiet mood for this one. And I have to say the film was slow at times. But by the end, I was completely absorbed and pleasantly surprised by the mystery and beauty of the story.
A slow reveal but well worth the journey.
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