Day and Night
Director: Wang Chao (2004)
Day and Night is director Wang Chao's second full-length feature. His debut is The Orphan of Anyang.
The story is set in a small desolate coalmining town in Northern China. Guangsheng, a local miner, has a love affair with the wife of the man to whom he's apprenticed. When a mine disaster occurs, he is unable to save his master and leaves him for dead in a mineshaft, barely escaping with his own life. But after his newfound love leaves him, Guangsheng is racked with guilt – he sees the specter of his master, who commands him to help his retarded son A Fu find a wife. Guangsheng agrees, and as his luck improves, he helps A Fu find a match in the predictably pretty A Mei – who, then again, might also turn out to be a good match for himself …
Wang Chao evidently wants to tell a story about redemption in life. But while it explores the depths of soul through dialogues between man and spirit, it does so with a distinct lack of insight. The main problem, however, is the lead actor (Liu Lei), who fails to convincingly depict the inner turmoil of a guilty man – from the beginning to end, he simply seems distracted by the sub par plot.
(that's Beijing November 7, 2005)