Friday, April 6, 2018

Chinese animated film Big Fish & Begonia (大鱼海棠) in Pittsburgh, April 11 and 12.



The 2016 Chinese animated film Big Fish & Begonia (大鱼海棠) is getting a limited release in the US, and will play in Pittsburgh on April 11 and 12. A glowing Variety review summarizes:
In the history of Chinese animation, there has never been a film like “Big Fish & Begonia.” Certainly, precedents exist in American and Japanese cartoons (at its core, the film could be a cross between Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and Studio Ghibli’s “Spirited Away”), but as far as the Chinese industry goes, this bold and breathtaking fantasy adventure stands alone.

Rendered to look like a traditional hand-drawn project, then thoroughly enhanced by CG touches and an immersive 3D presentation, “Big Fish & Begonia” commands awe on the strength of its imagery alone — a procession of enormous whales swim through the skies, a tentacled creature ferries a girl across a sea of clouds, feline porters walk on their hind legs — while weaving an epic tale that’s uniquely informed by local myths and motifs. If only it made the slightest bit of sense.

Best one can make of this stunning and frequently incomprehensible fable, “Big Fish & Begonia” tells of dolphin-girl Chun who sacrifices her immortality to rescue a human boy, traveling back and forth between the world of men and the mystical realm of “the Others,” which are connected by enormous whirlpools. That dynamic is further complicated by Chun’s childhood friend Qiu, who is willing to trade his own life for her benefit, resulting in an elaborate supernatural love triangle between human beings and those with magical powers (Chun can make plants grow through sheer force of concentration, bringing a seed to full bloom with a wave of her hand).
The movie will play at the Southside Works Cinema on April 11 and 12, and tickets are now available online. The theater is located at 425 Cinema Drive in the Southside, one block from the Hot Metal Bridge (map).