Great Storytelling in Long Form
There was a time where I was color grading a large number of long form projects. Unfortunately I'm just not doing as many these days but I was recently involved with the short film 'Gu' made by writer and director Jianjie Lin. The experience was an absolute delight not just from a professional point of view but a personal one as well.
I am, for the most part, involved with commercials these days and it was a wonderful change of pace to work on a dramatic project again. When I was originally show the film I was immediately struck by the pace of it. This is a very slow paced and meditative film with only a small number of cuts. I am appreciative of this as an editing style because it is reminiscent of a couple of film favorites of mine but was also conscious that the pace of the edit was fitting and complimentary to the story.
The film follows the central character, Gu, on his journey home to meet with his wife and son back in his hometown. He is there for the divorce case and this may be the last time he sees his son again.
This isn't a film review and I'm certainly not a film reviewer but I love this film and there are 3 perfect performances from the key characters.
Jianjie studied in the film production program at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Gu is his graduation short film.
When I first met with Jianjie it made sense to me straight away where the very focused pace and performances came from. Jianjie's direction with me as the colorist was concise and consistent and I knew exactly where the film should sit in a very short space of time. Just like the editing the resulting color complimented the story which, in my opinion, is exactly the way it should be (I know that sounds obvious but it's not always the case!)
Jianjie told me that he was obviously attracted to the (still controversial) issue of divorce in small Chinese towns, and the emotional turmoil involved. He said he also became fascinated with idea behind a man trapped by his own facade; "a man who values being right more than being loved"
It's certainly not a light story. The performances give this small film such a weight and it's this combined with the restraint in the way it's been shot totally pulls me in. I don't want to give anything away but there is a small moment when Gu takes his sons photo that makes your heart ache in its simplicity and perceived futility.
I truly hope the film does well on the festival circuit and I have NO doubt I will be seeing some stunning work from Jianjie Lin in the near future.