The first film by Chinese director, Dong Yue, A RAIN WITHOUT END is noted by winning the Grand Prix at the festival du film policier de Beaune. Polar twilight for a chinese society that is changing. Located around the year 1997, in the full handover of Hong Kong to China, the story is that of Yu Guowei, the then head of the security of a plant, which is investigating a series of murders of young women perpetrated in the surrounding area.
In A RAIN WITHOUT END, the use of genre film serves as the backdrop for a discourse on the social changes in China at the end of the 90’s. The genre film as a reflection of society, it has become almost a common place, a recipe recovered a little everywhere to create metaphors spun more-or-less successful on just about everything and anything. So why always go back to this formal, mechanical for telling the world that surrounds us ? First of all because the film genre (as either horror, thriller, polar, or other) is usually addressed to a wide audience. It is a cinema which, thanks to its spectacular characteristics, exports relatively well. Then, because the genre requires the construction of a mythology on which the filmmaker will benefit from its dramaturgy. A mythology that refers to a collective unconscious to refer to a universal language. The use of the genre film it is the ability to tell a particular story understood everywhere and by all. The producer can thus insert different degrees of readings in order to compose a work which is rich and complex.
Since the 50’s, enjoying a special status and its links with the chinese diaspora, hong kong grows and spreads its production across Asia and the rest of the world. In the 80s-90s, some filmmakers like John Woo and Johnnie To contribute to popularizing the polar hong kong with films such as The Killer or The Mission. This current film is both artistic and industrial, contains the codes of the exploitation film Hollywood and the transpose of the asian culture. Thus it is that the genre film and, more particularly, the film noir is implanted permanently in Asia, to develop a leg singular. With the emergence of the new wave of auteur cinema of south korea who seized the codes of film noir, a new breath is given to a genre that is constantly reinventing itself. 2003 is a symbolic date, with outputs of Old Boy of Park Chan-Wook and Memories of Murder de Bong Joon-Ho that give its letters of nobility to the polar Korean. In 2005, Kim Jee-Woon for A Bittersweet Life, quickly joined by a young generation of filmmakers whose gifted Na Hong-Jin (The Chaser, The Murderer, The Stranger). Crime novels and other genres from film noir will be used to tell the violence of a Korean company just out of a dictatorship and bloody years of fratricidal war with its neighbor to the north. The filmmakers exorcize the fears and the obsessions collective, a generation, through movies on the aesthetic is very stylized, in which unfolds a violent cathartic. The Chinese Dong Yue, who performs here a polar hypnotic as confusing as they are ambitious, draws in the lovers of south korea and is found in the direct inheritance of these authors mentioned above.
Like his fellow countryman Jia Zhang-Ke, cineaste chinese applies to capture political and economic changes in his country to analyze how they impact the life and the privacy of the population. During the introduction sequence, Yu Guowei (played by Duan Yihong) and spells his first name by using the terms ” Vestige, Nation, Glorious “, the axe and the tone of the film are then given. The plot unfolds in the memory of the former head of the security, around the year 1997 when Hong Hong is ceded back to China, which is experiencing a period of political and economic transformation profound. The director filming the disintegration of a social class that suddenly put away the system. The factory, which represented the economic heart of the region, closes, to be replaced by a shopping center. The workers are fired and forced to find a new function in the company, the consumers. The film tends to crystallize this moment of change, this period of the moment in which the metamorphosis is in progress. The filmmaker shows the anxieties and plays with the subconscious fears that various of the characters in rupture.
Because they all seem to be dormant, they no longer recognize their country and feel out of sync with the time that happens. Yu Guowei is happy in his position of chief of security and he wants nothing changes. Blinded by the investigation turns to obsession, it does not see the upheavals that happen, and seems to gradually move away from the truth that he refuses to look him in the face. The officer Zhang (Yuan’s) dream of retiring away from this town that suffocates. He is overwhelmed by the investigation and by the nature of the murders that he fails to understand. He observes the moral values crumble to let violence intrude into the interstices of the society and thus shattered the most fundamental social structure, the family. This is what the film suggests at the arrest of a former worker accused of having murdered his own wife. About Yanzi (Jiang Yiyan), the bride platonic Yu, she dream of leaving the city and starting to realize his dreams in Honk Hong. At the end of the story, the characters are literally expelled from the film. As if the mechanics of the running system, personified by the industrialization frantic, shocked permanently this social class, doomed to oblivion. The idea materializes in the scene of the bridge and the train, between Yu Guowei and Yanzi, who seems to be filmed in transparency, the characters so dissociated from this scene overloaded and hostile. The rupture is total between the body and the space that they can no longer invest.
The concept of duplication is also essential to the film. The poster of’RAIN WITHOUT END takes this pattern founder, around which the plot revolves. The scene that follows the discovery of the first corpse serves as an introduction to this theme. Yu, who comes to summon all the workers of the factory to the commissioner, invites the officer Zhang to query them one by one since they are now all potential culprits. The episode of the worker who kills his wife will confirm this hypothesis, by an effect of contamination, they are now murderers in the making. The figure of the killer is duplicated to the infinite and loses itself in a multiplicity standardized. During a sequence of chasing them, Yu Guowei is on the trail of the one that is believed to be the killer. To protect you from the rain, while two are dressed in long parquas black, causing a confusion in the viewer which is unable to distinguish between the two characters. It must be borne in mind that the film tells its story through the memories of Yu Guowei which shows that it is a narrator not quite reliable. This is a character whose obsession hides the truth, in the same way, the film blurs the tracks and operates numerous landslides. The polar of Dong Yue works as a reminiscence of misty where the rain would carry everything in its path, it is the forgetfulness of the ends to engulf the industrial decor, the remnant of a lost world.
The high representation of asian cinema this year at the Cannes film festival is an interesting indicator, among the films that have received the favours of the critics, we may mention the Burning of the Korean Lee Chang-Dong, The Eternals of the Chinese Jia Zhang-Ke and of course the palme d’or, awarded to the Japanese Kore-Eda for A family affair. In an interview with the French Film, Vincent Maraval (co-founder of Wild Bunch, the distributor of a large number of award winning films in Cannes) considers that” today, the 7e art plays in Asia and Cannes, and recognised this for a long time “. RAIN WITHOUT END, also distributed by Wild Bunch, won the Grand prize at the last festival international du film policier de Beaune, while the jury prize was awarded to the Korean Wong Shin-Yu to The memory murders. A hegemony of auteur cinema-asian cinema world that is not ready to stop.
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• Production : Dong Yue
• Scenario : Dong Yue
• Main players : Duan Yihong, Jian Yiyan, Duan Yihong, Yuan The
• Release Date : July 25, 2018
• Duration : 1h59min