Suzhou River (Suzhou he) [2000] • China • Lou Ye

Sometimes these "Look at me, I'm indie" projects deliberately frustrate so they don't accidentally get mistaken for commercial fare. Dirty locations, slow pace, downplaying of events should they happen to occur, and dizzying handheld camerawork all combine to give us the real world. Love must be lost, memories muddled, but hope will hang on by a thin thread. Zhou Xun is captivating as usual but her story is designed to disappoint rather than engage. This is a quality film to keep your street cred intact but not very pleasant to experience even if you do want alternative. It has a lot of great moments when it focuses itself enough for you to enjoy them. A director shouldn't have to jiggle and whip the camera around all the time to create an effect of intimacy or collusion with the viewer. Lou Ye overdid it with this one.



  1. words of him who can't enjoy - can you appreciate transience when it contradicts your need for discursive control?.....archetypes when they frustrate your craving for novelty?....the critic-become-consumer ...this was 2000... dead inventories don't outlive the living river

  2. Can't? I don't think so.

    I don't know ... seems like you are asking schooled questions, out of habit, that don't apply to me. After that I don't really understand what you are talking about.

    But thanks for stopping by. Maybe I've missed your point, sort of like what I think you are implying about my experience of the river.

  3. Just viewed SR for the 1st time and tumbled to your clip of Zhou Xun discovering she has been kidnapped for ransom by her lover, and am glad to see that someone else also noticed her extraordinary acting as several emotions creep across her face in that long take.

    James, Old China Books