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Unclawed wild horse with shaved mane

Original title: Unstuck wild horse and shaved mane

Recently, the film “Wild Horse Splitting Mane” directed by young director Wei Shujun landed on theaters. The film was nominated for a new feature film director at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, and helped the male lead Zhou You win the “Fei Mu Honor Best Actor Award” at the Pingyao International Film Festival. This year, Wei Shujun’s new work “The Story of Yong’an Town” was once again nominated for the Cannes Film Festival Director’s Biweekly Unit, and won the Fei Mu Honorary Best Director Award at the Pingyao International Film Festival. Although there are always chances in the competition, it is no coincidence that two consecutive films have won favor.

Beijing flavor

Wei Shujun’s level of choreography and unique insights into life embodied in “Wild Horse Splitting Mane” are indeed rare. The first paragraph at the beginning of the film joked about life, and also very powerfully revealed: the protagonist Akun (played by Zhou You) was learning to drive in a driving school, but he was severely criticized by the coach for a mistake. Akun was not upset, he was a throttle. The car drove to the side of the road, opened the door and kicked the red and white warning pole in front of you. The coach got out of the car and continued yelling, Akun grabbed another pole to scare the opponent, then kicked all the poles down and disappeared from our field of vision. In the next (reverse fight!) scene, Akun apparently accepted the criticism and education of the driving school, and possibly even received a fine.

Perhaps the director Wei Shujun just wanted to use such a scene to remind us that life itself means rules and obstacles, and your deviant and rebellious, even if it makes the viewer laugh, will ultimately only be a futile effort to slaughter the audience. Useless move. As the writer Penelope Fitzgerald said in a letter to the editor, “I think biographies should be written to people you admire and admire, and novels are written to those who have been wronged by life.” Director Wei Shujun and his screenwriter Gao Linyang are well versed in the purpose and helplessness of life, so they let the movie always walk on the rope of life between disappointment and hope.

At first glance, “Wild Horse Splitting Mane” is reminiscent of Beijing-style comedies in the 1980s and 1990s. Beijinger Wei Shujun is unavoidable from this influence. Actors such as Zhou You and Liu Yang have contributed a lot of quality and uniform performances, which added a lot of points to the film, but “Wild Horse Mane” is not so much a prose variant of Beijing-flavored comedy. Said it is a Beijing-style copy of Hou Xiaoxian’s movie: A senior student in recording department and a young gangster A Kun who stands at the crossroads of his life stole test papers from his mother as a teacher and sold them to students, and his fat man in order to make money. Together, my little brother drove a dilapidated second-hand jeep around to pick up work. In a period of time before entering a career, Akun also chased a girl who could never catch up, had realistic considerations of life and a serious vision for the future. He also drove into the game because of illegal driving, and finally was in a frustrated life. Going back on the road… All of these are more or less reminiscent of “The Man from the Wind Cabinet”, “Dust in the Wind”, “Goodbye Southland, Southland” and other movies that focus on the daily life of ordinary people in Taiwan.

In addition to the deja vu youth image, the most resemblance between Wei Shujun and Hou Xiaoxian is the people and landscape full of fireworks. “Wild Horse Mane” presents the most popular and grounded elements in Beijing today, such as the sale of second-hand cars, off-road e-ethnic Chaoyang moderators, an earthy album of one hundred songs, and bathing (without gender-criticism) At the center…at any moment of the movie, there is a familiar breath of life rushing to your face. Similar to his next work “The Story Collection of Yong’an Town”, Wei Shujun has little interest in vague and curious landscapes and elements. He likes to create with his own sensible experience. Any audience can clearly see the film. The connection between the protagonist and the director himself (for example, he himself is a recording professional), but the subtlety lies in its very sense of fiction. This fiction will never give people some discomfort from peeping at others’ lives. Let the audience successfully cross the horror valley between “sincerity” and “real” that many people cannot cross.

Mustang

“Wild Horse Splitting Mane” is not a series of Beijing-style scenes created by simply piling up market elements. What it presents is a sorted and refined life, a life that has been given a certain meaning. Among these, “wild horse” is a very vivid example. As an important image, “Wild Horse” first appeared in the film in a recording class. The teacher explained the dubbing of horseshoes. Akun rebelliously expressed dissatisfaction with the teacher’s dubbing, and stepped onto the podium to demonstrate for his classmates. “This horse is probably a wild horse without horseshoes.” The subsequent demonstration made the teacher who should pay attention to these details extremely embarrassed. Here, the film undoubtedly hints to us that Akun is the unruly wild horse without horseshoes. It is also at this moment that Akun’s long hair suddenly has a clear visual comparison-horsehair, human and The horse is united in both image and spirit.

Through “Wild Horse”, the director and screenwriter not only lead to the image of the characters and the direction of the story, but also a discipline theme. After being detained by administrative detention for illegal driving, Akun was rescued by his father, who was a police officer. The conversation between his father and the director of the detention center was full of social transactions, and Akun was also asked not to overhear. Akun walked to the window and looked down. A group of prisoners were practicing their formation-the words “Wild Horse Splitting Mane” appeared in the whole film for the first time, but it was a neat move by the prisoners. Following the command from the prison guards, the prisoners changed their formations, and then again, the prisoners squatted down with their heads in their hands, and nakedly sang the words “Thanksgiving”. It was at this time that these orange spots with uniform clothes and uniform hairstyles completed their own discipline. Although A Kun was upstairs, he couldn’t help it.

Although he was fortunate enough to return to his normal life early because of his father, his life at this time is no longer what he used to be, and Akun at this time is no longer the unrelenting Akun before—Wei Shujun used a simple and In an effective way, it is visually presented without a single stroke: Akun’s long hair is shaved after all, just like a wild horse being nailed to a horseshoe.

Meta movie

From the young man who wanted to leave Yanbian but was still unable to do so in “The Boys of Yanbian”, to the A Kun who gradually lost his way in “Wild Horse Mane”, and then to the three groups in “Yong’an Town Story Collection” who tortured themselves embarrassedly The characters in life and the protagonists of Wei Shujun’s movies are not completely ignorant, but they must be besieged by life and lack the opportunity to escape. However, it needs to be pointed out that for Wei Shujun, it is never a certain system that tames people, but life itself. This makes his movies always full of a Chekhov taste and prevents his movies from flowing. Because of poverty and mediocrity in thought.

In addition to the thinking and presentation of life itself, the film also has a “meta” attribute that cannot be ignored—”Wild Horse Mane” is a film about film and filmmakers in the final analysis. The protagonist Akun is a recording student and recording engineer. The identity of is throughout, and the film he participated in also occupies an important position in the film. It should be said that Wei Shujun’s exposure of the filming process is both a coincidence, and it is not a coincidence. Said it is because the creator frankly said that he was nothing more than shooting things around him, and did not deliberately shoot a “meta-movie”; and it is not because the creator always views his work critically. Therefore, it has become a necessity to bring a certain attitude into the film and create a “meta-movie”. “Wild Horse’s Mane” certainly presents a ridiculous crew to the audience: a script that has never existed, a wind tuned from the sound library… Is falsehood an inevitable for the movie? Can movies really reflect our current lives? What posture do you want to reflect your life in the end?

In this regard, Wei Shujun seems to want to return to absolute simplicity and sincerity-first admit and expose the “fake” of the film, and then reach the “truth” of creation. He must face the possibility of deviating from reality in the filming process, or even directly Talking about this kind of falsehood in the movie can create the real “truth” with great fanfare. Of course, simplicity and sincerity do not mean simple. In fact, the design of the scene scheduling in “Wild Horse Mane” is more elaborate than most domestic movies, and almost all the shots have rich changes. Although from all levels, “Wild Horse Mane” is far from giving a definite aesthetic style, it has already begun to be specific in terms of audio-visual, screenwriting, performance, and directing.

To some extent, we do have reason to expect Wei Shujun to become the Hou Xiaoxian of our time. After all, he, like his protagonist, Akun, has just stepped onto the starting point. (Secretary of the round head)

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