2011-2020ArthouseChinaXuebo Wang

Xuebo Wang – Qingshui li de daozi AKA Knife in the Clear Water (2016)

In the far mountains of Ningxia province, the old Ma Zishan and his son start mourning his wife. Loved by everyone in the village and the family, the son wants to sacrifice their only bull for her 40 days disappearance ceremony. Zishan isn’t against it, but his sorrow and his love for the old animal make him wonder. Even his prayers and the Imam don’t seem to erase his doubts. Until one morning the old bull stops eating and drinking. Has he seen the knife in the clear water?

“The helmer eyes their lot with perceptive detachment, avoiding a strident voice of social protest or melodramatic lament. He also captures the peace and piety of the community during worship. Ma’s meeting with the Imam transcends his guilt toward the bull, turning the consultation into a lesson on how to accept one’s role in God’s chain of being. A silent scene in which Ma reads the Quran under a frail, swaying oil lamp the night before the 40-day ritual evokes a kind of spiritual rhapsody.”
Variety: Maggie Lee
October 07, 2016 | Busan

“DP Wang’s many static shots reveal painterly compositions, tracking the change in seasons from fall to snow-capped winter over the course of the 40-day mourning period for Ma’s late wife. Reportedly inspired by Tarkovsky, Andrew Wyeth, and Jean-François Millet, Knife in the Clear Water was shot in the boxy 4:3 aspect ratio, containing images of striking vistas within a traditional frame. With little dialogue or action, all attention is on the direction, the framing, and the cinematography.”
Film Comment: Margaret Barton-Fumo
January 12, 2017 | Marrakech

“Chronicling ancient ways with an aesthetic beauty that is tempered by brutal conditions, the film carries the force of an immovable object, the implacable weight of history.”
Senses of Cinema: Nicholas Godfrey
June 22, 2017 | Hong Kong

3.12GB | 1h 33m | 1920×1080 | mkv




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