Crosscurrent (2016) - Yang Chao
Yang Chao's Crosscurrent is cinema in it's purest form, an absolutely stunning achievement that is soulful, meditative, and transcendent. Centered around a ship boat captain who is struggling to cope with the death of his father, Crosscurrent is a film which uses visual lyricism to provide an existential examination of life itself. A film which places little weight on narrative plot points, Crosscurrent is a film brooding with atmophere, spirituality, and universal truth about the human condition, relying heavily on it's visual acumen to tell a story that is both profoundly intimate yet universally expansive. A piercing study of longing, emotional strife, and hope, Crosscurrent captures the transient power of love and connection, with cargo shit captain adrift at sea, the expansive Yangtze River providing the perfect symbolism for the film's introspective examination of suffering. The visuals throughout Crosscurrent are nothing short of masterful visual storytelling, with Yang Chao's skillfully using wide compositions and opens spaces to capture the emptiness of his main protagonist. It's quite frankly hard to put into words the serene beauty of Crosscurrent, with every frame of this story evoking the deep-seeded emotions of this story of love and loss. The Yangtze River itself is a central character in the film, a spiritual force, so vast and all consuming, coming to symbolize the harmony, joy, and pain of life itself. The barren seascapes evoke a sense of isolation and solitude, with this magnificent force of nature being both and provider and a destroyer for the people of China, a force of nature that rejects the changing sands of time itself. The slow moving currents of the river mirror provide the perfect juxtaposition with our character's intimate struggle, providing context about the universal connection all humankind has to pain, suffering, and love itself. What Yang Chao has crafted with Crosscurrent is truly remarkable, a film of such visual lyricism that beautifully captures the human condition itself, detailing our relationship not only with nature but faith, love, pain, suffering, and hope. A masterpiece of cinema in its purest form, Crosscurrent is a soul affirming experience of that transcendent power of art.
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