Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
The core of the film is surreal, almost supernatural—a man and a woman from a different time and space travel against each other, progressively and retrogressively at the same.
- Yang Chao
It has been over ten years since Beijing Film Academy graduate Yang Chao’s last feature film Passages (2004), but the wait was more than worth it. Poetic, enigmatic and achingly beautiful, this long-awaited masterpiece opens new directions for Chinese cinema.
Gao Chun (Qin Hao) is a young captain hired to take a small cargo ship up the Yangtze River. One day he finds a handwritten book of poetry hidden in the boat. The nameless poet’s abstrusely beautiful texts work their way into Gao’s soul. He disembarks at every port on his journey, and at each landing he has a vision of a mysterious woman, An Lu (newcomer Xin Zhilei)… or is it perhaps a series of women, issued from a magical alchemy the poems provoke inside his imagination? Their encounters become increasingly intimate, but once the ship passes the Three Gorges Dam she disappears.
The great cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bin works with Yang to create landscapes of overwhelming beauty: their choice of 35mm film produces radiant, light-infused images of palpable power and unlimited depth. Sensuality made visible: a triumph of cinematic art.
— Shelly Kraicer
Best Cinematography, Berlin 16