SHORT FILM REVIEW: A Gentle Night (2017)

Director: Oiu Yang | DOP: Constanze Schmitt | Cast: Li Shuxian 
In a nameless Chinese city, a mother with her daughter missing, refuses to go gently into this good night.
Inspired by a true story, A Gentle Night, follows a mother looking for her missing daughter after she fails to return home from school one day. It’s a frustrating but engaging viewing. We join Cai and her husband in the confines of a Police interview room  – a gruff and somewhat disinterested policeman checks off a list of shallow questions whilst directly bringing up Cai’s capabilities to be a good mother in to question.  Kicking off an already difficult situation by adding the burden of patriarchal oppressions indicative of Chinese society is effortlessly constructed and executed.

Qiu Yang has already broken records with his beautiful and poignant film, having been the first Chinese man to win the coveted short film Palme D’Or at the 70th Cannes Awards, this year. He has also gone on to be nominated for over thirty festivals and at present has likely won more.

A dark film in context and tone, A Gentle Night is an impressive marker against the growing popularity of Asian cinema, admittedly some of the best independent films in the festivals over the last couple of years have hailed from the East Asian region.  Yang’s humanist look throws a sobering spotlight on the societal discrepancies within modern Chinese culture.


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