Login

Suzhou River Review

Image for Suzhou River

Courier Mardar (Jia) becomes convinced that Meimei (Zhou), who works as a mermaid at a dockside bar, is the reincarnation of Mudan (Zhou again), the bootlegger's daughter who seemingly plunged to a watery grave after she discovered his complicity in a kidnapping plot.

★★★★

With this stylish noir, sophomore director Lou Ye conjures up an unseen videographer, whose narration contradicts his own imagery. Confused? Well, so is courier Mardar (Jia), who becomes convinced that Meimei (Zhou), who works as a mermaid at a dockside bar, is the reincarnation of Mudan (Zhou again), the bootlegger's daughter who seemingly plunged to a watery grave after she discovered his complicity in a kidnapping plot. The plot is heavily endebted to Hitchckock's Vertigo, which ties in with Lou Ye's exploration of reality and subjectivity at an intertextual level - ownership of the plot and film itself is exposed to the subjectivity he explores.

With the character names steeped in symbolism, this treatise on subjectivity and the inexactitude of truth shares Rashomon's flashback structure and refusal to provide definitive answers. But with its musings on cultural assimilation, urban decay and juvenile disillusion, it also adds social comment to the beguiling mystery.

This story about story-telling is told innovatively.