Masters of Asian Cinema: Kaili Blues
The next Masters of Asian Cinema film is the 2015 feature Kaili Blues. It will screen on Tuesday, February 14 at 6:30pm at Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay Street in downtown Bellingham.
Kaili Blues is the debut feature of the young filmmaker Bi Gan, set in his hometown of Kaili, Guizhou Prefecture. At the center of the film is a quest featuring a complex character, Chen, an ex-con trying to do the right thing. Chen has two searches he has undertaken: one to find his nephew, who has been sold by Chen’s irresponsible brother, and the other to find the former lover of his elderly coworker and give him some items she has been saving.
The journey operates on many levels, reaching back into the past and into the future, as well as plumbing psychic depths in the main character. Part of his quest involves finding some people from the Miao ethnic group, which Bi himself is part of. Bi received best director prizes at a couple of festivals for this work. Much commentary has focused on a 41-minute shot at the center of the film that unfolds in a dreamlike way.
Series curator and WWU librarian Jeff Purdue explains that this particular scene resonates with the viewers long after the time of watching this film.
“This is the sort of film that critics often describe as poetic, but here it’s more apt than usual – director Bi’s own poetry weaves through this film, making it an unlikely and less linear companion piece to the currently playing [at the Pickford], Paterson.”
Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and the Pickford Film Center, the Masters of Japanese Cinema series was one of the Pickford's longest running and most loved series, featuring some of the best films in World Cinema with movies that span both decades and genres. The Masters of Asian Cinema series continues that rich tradition.
Each film in the series begins with an introduction from select speakers including local professors, artists, and educators. Kaili Blues will be introduced by Kristen Parris, an Associate Professor at WWU in the Department of Political Science where she teaches Chinese Politics, East Asian Politics, and other courses in comparative politics.