The Sun Also Rises (2007) is not a version of the Hemingway novel. It’s a Chinese movie directed by (and starring) Wen Jiang. A friend gave me this DVD (and a bunch more) the last time I was in China but I hadn’t watched it until last night. I don’t know why. There’s a son with a fengde mother. Well, she’s only fengde after she loses her fish shoes to a CGI bird. There’s a house in the woods made up of artifacts of her madness and after her son has a sneezing fit inside she’s back to normal before disappearing.
Then there’s the story of Teacher Liang who’s accused of groping five women at his school. He’s caught and beaten by a horde with flashlights. The flashlight chase scene was so pretty. There are a couple of shots I would frame a frame of and hang it on my wall. Eventually he is exonerated and then kills himself.
Then we jump back to the boy in the village and the teacher’s friend Tang and his wife are out there for him to be re-educated (it’s 1976). The boy’s mother has just disappeared and Tang goes out hunting with the peasant kids, leaving his wife in the shack to have an affair with the boy (who’s like 20) with the fengde mother. Tang finds out and says he’ll kill the boy when he learns what velvet is.
Finally there’s a flashback to 20 years before and Tang’s wife and the boy’s (soon to be since she’s a million months pregnant) mom are riding camels through the desert, one to a wedding and one to claim the body of her dead lover. The boy’s mom gives birth to him in the toilet on the train and she stops the train so she can run back along the tracks to find him. And the sun rises. The end.
The whole thing was kind of crazy and dreamlike and good. It was shot beautifully except for that damned CGI bird. The main thing that bugged me was how many clothes the peasant boy had. He never wore the same thing twice.