As emotionally resonant as it is intellectually rigorous, Gu Xiaogang's Dwelling in the Suchun Mountains is a stunning work of slow cinema, one which transcends its familial narrative to deliver a powerful exploration of the sociological and psychological effects which personal and societal change can place on the human psyche. A film which is relatively plotless, outside of its inciting incident in which the matriarch of a large family suffers a debilitating stroke, Dwelling in the Suchun Mountains feels largely free-flowing in that the events feel naturalistic, placing the various characters at the fulcrum of its story as they navigate the seas of change. Featuring a ravishing assembly of carefully calculated images, the visual constructions in Dwelling in the Suchun Mountains enunciate the natural world, elucidating the omnidirectional exploration of modern China in which generational and class divides caused by China's societal transformation into modernity effect this sprawling family in different and distinctive ways. It's a rich tapestry of emotional resonance and intellectual purveyance, one which expounds no easy solutions to this tumultuous yet normalized relationship which modernity places between the social and economic conditions of society. The clash between tradition and modernity is not simplistic nor easily deconstructed, and through its panoply of characters Dwelling in Fuchun Mountains saliently encaptures these complexities in which each character brings their own lived-in experiences - defined by their temporal and spatial environments - as they attempt to navigate their environment and their connections to others whom they share the commonality of family. A story which effectively rejections crude dichotomies between Nature vs. Nurture, Modernity vs. Tradition, Dwelling in the Suchun Mountains is a sprawling family drama that is particularly astute when it comes to detailing the litany of forces - both social and economical - which sculpt and cultivate whom we are as individuals and what it means to be family.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.