Sometimes, as “critical”, it is necessary to be able to make a little bit of humility. I am unable to talk about FOUR WAYS TO DIE IN MY HOMETOWN, because I lack a clear code to decipher all of the symbolism that passes. That is not to say that there is a lack of interest. On the contrary, it is a film that you must see, just to rub in the event of the discovery of art forms that are beyond our conception.

I felt like in front of a beautiful object, which I have not perceived the profound meaning through his aesthetic. Because it is cinema, and the images, all the world can understand them. There is reason universal, such as the sensitivity, the poetry, the way the camera evokes an emotion through his how to register a landscape or figures in a frame. From this point of view, FOUR WAYS TO DIE IN MY HOMETOWN is undeniable, aligning its magnificent tableaux vivants and varied.

But as soon as one tries to explain what sy tells, through the dialogues, the situations, and everything that does not fall within the sensory, the bewitching mindfuck begins. Like the cinema of David Lynch, orApichatpong Weeresathakul, the interpretation gives full value to the film.

I perceived that, all in FOUR WAYS TO DIE IN MY HOMETOWN, offered a visual illustration and a symbolic illustration ; the allegory escapes me, necessarily, by my obvious distance with the spirituality that defines the film. I have, however, been sensitive to a few topics, such as the transmission of an inheritance (physical, spiritual, cultural), the representation of the art, the behaviour of the Man… But the theme the more cryptic remainder is a representation of the death. The “four ways to die” refer to the four titles of chapters, which correspond to the four elements (earth, water, fire, wind). If we can hang on to the visual patterns that accompany those items, in particular through the photography of the scenery, more or less rural, mountainous, misty, crepuscular, or irradiated by the sun… It is more difficult to give a meaning to the many stories that intertwine without logic in the film. A young girl who wants to commit suicide, another who loses his camel (or sheep, it is out of focus), another who wants to escape a father who dies, a man who steals puppets, an old fool / shaman / ghost weird, etc. – These characters appear to embody a form of death (or rebirth) spiritual, which it is incumbent upon us to understand what reason it occurs. It’s exciting, but of course very cryptic and inaccessible.

“FOUR WAYS TO DIE IN MY HOMETOWN is a tale of spiritual death, as inaccessible as bewitching.”

Having seen only a tiny part of the whole symbolic nature of the film, I’ll send you back without shame to the excellent summary of the film provided by the festival in China Now, which is a simple analysis but relevant to the film. I will try from my side to unravel the mysteries of this spirituality is decidedly chinese, and perhaps, come back to expand this review with my findings.


Fiction Film, both poetic and narrative, Four Ways to Die in My Hometown is configured by four parts corresponding to the four elements : earth, water, fire and wind. The director evokes the four iconic characters – a poet, a person research, a puppeteer and a shaman, each having a special connection to the earth, intense, mystical and deeply rooted in the spirituality of the local (the film was shot in Gansu province and its vicinity). The film is constructed according to a logic of association and reverie, which plunges the spectator into a state of hypnotic, alternating tables spectacular on the pictorial plane, and suggestive on the symbolic level. Two young women lose a camel, and then lose their father, a puppeteer, a retired encounter a thief to trees armed ; the storytellers and shamans evoke a spiritual world that is lost. Chai Chunya breathes new life into this spiritual world with the help of visual patterns from the collective memory of aboriginal, leaving the viewer to guess their meaning in an intuitive way.

FOUR WAYS TO DIE IN MY HOMETOWN is shown at the festival China Now




Original title : 我故乡的四种死亡方式

Wo guxiangde if zhong siwang fangshi


Achievement : Chai Chunya

Production year : 2012

Duration : 90 minutes

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