Saturday, May 12, 2007


SFiFF2007 - How is your fish today? (今天的鱼怎么样?)

How is your fish today? (今天的鱼怎么样?) I was looking forward to seeing this Chinese film "How is your fish today?" (今天的鱼怎么样?, China/England 2007, 83 min., shown at the 50th SFiFF), but I was disappointed. It's totally not what I expected -- to hear an interesting story about things happening in a small village close to my hometown.

The film's screen writer Hui Rao plays himself in this film as an unsuccessful screen writer who is bored and wants to escape Beijing to the most remote Northern village called Mo He (漠河) next to Russia. Before he gets to Mo He himself, he writes a fictional character Lin Hao in his script, who is an fugitive fleeing to Mo He first. In case the audience is confused, Hui Rao's voice narrates almost the entire film. Although he does have a pleasant voice, I just want him to shut up: I am watching a movie, so stop talking!

The film seems a documentary goes haywire, so it becomes a drama instead. However, it keeps all the documentary style, like watching "March of the Penguins" (La Marche de l'empereur) with nice landscape cinematography, and of course, the voice over just about every scene. Therefore, it's definitely not a docudrama like "The Story of the Weeping Camel." Everything is fictional, except the writer himself. Or is he?

Some people like the narrative throughout the film. I hate it, because it becomes babbling when the voice is not telling me an engaging story.

To me, visual is an essential part of the cinema (I can never imagine how a blind person "see" a movie). If the filmmaker thinks I won't get the image unless the narrative voice tells me what I am supposed to see with my eyes, I should have just read a book and use my own imagination for visual.

But, that's not the only part of the problem I have with this film. I just can't have the connection with the characters or the real writer. Yes, you are bored, so what?


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