The evocation of the marginal in contemporary chinese society, one might think of the cinema of Wang Bing – there is a little bit of that in Xu Tong, but there is also something different. A face less political, a distress more intimate, like a sphere disconnected from the realities of societal that define it. Following a troupe of musicians in full Inner Mongolia, the filmmaker chinese portrait singular : that of the blind singer, vulgar and mutilated, to the humor salacious past and misty, the subject of attention, which recalls, in its own way, Crumb ‘s Terry Zwigoff.
The interesting ambivalence of CUT OUT THE EYES, it is the association unique that offers the heart of the documentary : the performers of the traditional er ren tai, the characters take the stage during a show to be vulgar, shocking — redneck, in fact. But rather than make this heavy a prospecting condescending, Xu in captures the poetry, the richness of emotional and anthropologist. This is actually not only a pretext to simple observation, but to a more modest and honest melodrama, tragedy, romantic. Instead of explaining, the documentary filmmaker is given the mission of telling.
CUT OUT THE EYES, in which the protagonist suffers from blindness, is paradoxically a film about the gaze. A look of genuine stage director, who makes the languor of a melody, of the safety of a painting, the song’s bawdy a symphony of beauty upsetting. The last part of music is transformed in a true tour-de-force self-reflective blurring, in the manner of the main character, reality and fiction, the story and the plot — it would work almost like a twist, as its discovery to initiate a new point of view on what had preceded it, transforming the table of Freaks in journal ofthe Elephant Man.
“Rather than make this heavy a prospecting condescending, Xu in captures the poetry.”
The curtain closes, the car drives off, the music becomes a whisper. The film Xu Tong ends in the mirror of its beginning : the bitterness in the face of the vivacity, the subtle poet in the face of the comic philistine. CUT OUT THE EYES do not judge from its first images, but serves as the starting point of an adventure, in the manner of a fiction. He explored, he built, he destroyed, only to finally reverse the roles and make her frivolity a message heartbreaking. Beautiful.
To SEE AT the FESTIVAL CHINA NOW, APRIL 29, 2016 AT 22H10 – at the Studio des Ursulines
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• Achievement : Xu Tong
• Country of origin : China
• Released : 2014
• Duration : 1 hour 20 minutes
• Synopsis : Er Housheng, blind musician, traveled to inner Mongolia with his girlfriend and partner Liu Lanlan. Together, they interpret a traditional song local, called er ren tai, which takes the form of a musical comedy to the humor ribald. During performances, the main character, charm the female audience with its mixture of sensuality, rudeness rabelaisienne, and words socially subversive.