IFFK Special: 'My Dear Friend' is unusual, hypnotic but takes time to take off
'My Dear Friend' is a Chinese language film that is part of the international competition section of IFFK 2019.
The debut movie by director Yang Pingdao is a unusual film because it does not really open itself up to the audience at any stage. It is only after a particular stage in story that movie comes to life. The audience may find the first half of the movie hard to engage with.
'My Dear Friend' opens with city girl Jing Jing visiting a village in China in search of her boyfriendYang Yiming, who ran away after impregnating her. She can't find him, however, finds his family. Yang Yiming's grand parents, asks her to stay with them. It is only much later, when Jing Jing along with her boyfriend's grandfather and his friend rides to a village 300 km away, that we sense an intent and a shift in the tone of the movie.
We are given clues about the characters. Like the character of the grandfather's friend, Mr. Zhongshen. We understand that he is mute and also that he had a troubled past. But we are not shown what it is or what caused it. Elements like these keeps us searching for answers, but they never come.
The cinematography and the non linear editing makes the movie a unique cinematic experience. After a certain point when the movie takes a surrealistic turn the cinematography and editing perfectly complements this tonal shift and provides a 'hypnotic' effect.