A traveller in China’s far west in 1975 crosses paths with a young girl. They both have an interest in a film that is being screened in the area, but for different reasons.
Scott Mariner wrote:
Censors in Beijing have approved the release for November 27, following a year-long effort to rework the film to please the government. One Second was originally intended to premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019. However it was pulled at the last minute with producers claiming “technical issues” — a common euphemism for Chinese government censorship. The incident was a shock to the international film community and indicated that the propaganda department’s recent takeover of the Chinese film industry means the government will be taking a much more heavy handed role in dictating what artists can and cannot create.
The extent to which Zhang was forced to alter One Second to appease Beijing may never be known, given that the original version has never been released. The new version of the film runs 104 minutes, which is just one minute under the runtime of the version that was selected by Berlin. Part of the cast had to return to the Gobi desert in Northern China to do reshoots, which suggests that the changes were deep and extensive.
Starring Zhang Yi and Fan Wei, One Second is said to be Zhang’s passion project, one he had wanted to create for nearly a decade. Set during China’s 1966-76 Cultural Revolution — the extreme oppression of which the director experienced firsthand when he was hauled away for political re-education as a youth — the film was shot in and around the desert town of Dunhuang, known for its dune-swathed landscape. Many have speculated that the Cultural Revolution subject matter is what landed the film in hot water with the regime.
3.32GB | 1h 43m | 1920×800 | mkv
Subtitles:English, Chinese Hardcoded