102 minutes – China 2023 – Subtitles – Dir: Wu Lang
Starring: Kang-sheng Lee, Meng Li and Lang Wu
Chinese writer-director Wu Lang’s striking debut feature tells the story of Han Jiangyu (Lee Kang-Sheng) who returns to his hometown on Hainan Island after ten years in jail. Han Jiangyu wants to reconnect with Su Hong (Li Meng) and her child, Yao, but who exactly are they to him? His former lover? His child? The town has radically changed meanwhile, with lots of skyscrapers being built, and Su Hong is planning to buy an apartment in one of them. Han Jiangyu gets a job through a developer friend Kai, whose dad, it seems, was the reason Han Jiangyu went to jail.
Absence has a haunting slow rhythm, and the camera, drifting through the landscape, seems almost like another actor. Echoing Antonioni, each character is caught by a sense of alienation, struggling to communicate in their old world which has become a new one.
Absence had its world premiere at the Berlinale International Film Festival 2023, Official Selection, Encounters Section.
NOTES BY MARIE-PIERRE RICHARD
|Thurs 6 April
East Asia Film Festival IRELAND
At Triskel Arts Centre we are delighted to be hosting two special screenings on Thursday 6 April: ABSENCE, the directorial debut from Wu Lang, and Ang Lee’s 1994 classic EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN.