Far East Film Festival 20

Udine Italy April 20th/ April 28th 2018
The Film Festival For Popular Asian Cinema
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
Friday, April 28, time 10.00 PM

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Hide And Seek

Hide and Seek is the remake of the Korean film of the same name released in 2013, which met with resounding commercial and critical success. While the Korean version, loosely based on a news item and set in Seoul, was made by a debut director and had no stars in its cast, the Chinese version is set in Qingdai and has a stellar cast including Qin Hailu (The Piano in a Factory, FEFF 2010) and Wallace Huo; it was directed by the established director Liu Jie, who has explored various genres, from sociological dramas to films set amongst the ethnic minorities to teen comedies, before taking on this thriller.

The narrative, which faithfully follows the Korean one, bar a couple of slight details: the Chinese couple have only one daughter, not two like in the Korean original. It revolves around two brothers who live lives that are polar opposites: Zhang Jiawei is a successful entrepreneur, he owns a bar and lives with his wife and daughter in a luxury condo. He seems to have the perfect life, but his obsession with cleanliness – he suffers from mysophobia – betrays his deep-lying malaise. Suddenly, the owner of the apartment his older brother Zhang Jiahui lives in, contacts him to tell him he is evicting his brother, as Jiahui cannot be contacted and hasn’t paid the rent for months. Jiawei goes to his brother’s house with his wife and daughter in tow; it is a decrepit building, about to be knocked down, inhabited by poor folk, and the scene of the recent murder of a young woman – we see the killer, his face covered by a motorcycle helmet, in the opening scene of the film. As Jaiwei goes through this brother’s things – finding many pieces of women’s clothing – his wife, shocked by the discovery that her husband has a brother she knew nothing about, temporarily loses sight of their daughter outside the apartment block. A woman who lives in the block with a daughter of the same age, helps her find her and then invites the family into her home; but when she finds out that Jiawei’s brother was her neighbour, she throws them out of her house, claiming that his brother was a voyeur.

Jiawei sends his wife and daughter home, having decided to spend the night in his brother’s house in the hope he’ll return. During the night, he discovers a hole in the wall dividing his brother’s house from the one of the young woman who was killed, before finding strange symbols drawn on the outer walls of the various apartments identifying the number of inhabitants and their sex. In the meantime, back home, his wife and daughter undergo a frenzied attack by the killer in the motorcycle helmet, and the boyfriend of the woman killed torments Jiawei, convinced that he murdered her.
After coming back home, Jiawei finds out that the same symbols he saw on the walls at his brother’s place have been scrawled onto his own wall. In this chaotic scenario, Jiawei slowly loses his grip on reality...
A final twist in the tale brings him back to reason; besides the unfurling of the narrative, the fundamental theme of the film seems to be sin, atonement and the social inequality between the “haves” and the “have-nots”, exemplified visually by the contrast between Jiawei’s luxury, yet sterile, condo, and his brother’s dilapidated one, something that is becoming an increasing problem, not only in Asian societies, but the world over.
Maria Barbieri
Film director: 
Liu Jie
Year: 
2016
Running time: 
100

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnFPK3C4iFE

Photogallery

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