world is flux
Shanxi Province, 1970
dreary, exotic, imprisoning
long takes, contemplative middle shots
The movie’s penultimate image, a domestic scene held just long enough for the full weight of quotidian despair to infect the audience, epitomizes the protagonists’ odyssey from kindergarten We to isolated Me.
half-built or despoiled
mercenary winners, depressed losers
Then, in a final shot comparable to the majestically downbeat “real time” closer in Platform, one of them entertains us by singing the title song while under arrest, after a pathetically bungled bank robbery. 1
1 J Hoberman (merc winner) 2
2 Ask me why I say that.