Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original Title: Niupi er
Jiayin Liu follows up her startling 2005 debut with an even more formally controlled sequel. The camera never leaves the edge of her kitchen table, switching angles only nine times in the film’s two hour-plus running time and moving clockwise as it observes the activity that surrounds this central piece of furniture in the apartment that she shares with her parents, Huifen Jia and Zaiping Liu. After we see her father working with leather to create one of the purses that he sells in his (still) struggling business, the table is cleared for food preparation, a dinner of dumplings is created from the kneading of dough and chopping of meat through the assembly, frying under the table and happy consumption. It’s as boring as it sounds but that’s not a bad thing, the sense of warmth emanating from the action, performed with a calm and confident exactness by the father who endures his daughter’s frequent outbursts, provides for something that soothes and, at times, mesmerizes.