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WU HAI (2020, CHN) Movie review, plot, trailer, rating

 Ziyang Zhou is obviously another in a series of Chinese filmmakers of the new generation who are trying to present the not very idyllic everyday life in their country as convincingly and realistically as possible. “Wu Hai” is a stylized crime drama set in the small town of Wuhai (I mean this town by Chinese standards because 630,000 people live there) in the province of Inner Mongolia. This city is located on the Yellow River between the deserts of Gobi and Ordos, and for Chinese conditions Wuhai is obviously a real exotic. It follows this crime drama by petty broker Yang Hu (Huang Xuan) as his life and marriage begin to fall apart, and he won “Wu Hai” and a Critics Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Yang is married to yoga instructor Miao Wei (Yang Zishan), and they live in an apartment bought for her by her apparently well-to-do parents. Yang, on the other hand, borrowed and invested all his money in the business of his crime friend Lou Yu, that is, in a somewhat bizarre camp in the desert, which was obviously a screen for money laundering. Lou is now dragging him away and not giving him his money back, and Yang is not only backed by moneylenders who are asking for a refund, but at the same time he is interest in some smaller fish. Obviously, the entire economy of this city is based on usury and borrowing, because everyone here seems to be indebted to someone and as if someone owes them. The team for which Yang is collecting debts is indebted to an obviously very bright girl who borrowed money to buy an iPhone because her colleagues teased her that she was not there.

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She is so desperate that she offers Yang sexual services, and maybe even more than the moneylenders behind his neck and a friend who does not return his money, he is tormented by a woman he is convinced is cheating on him. She, on the other hand, has not yet told her husband that she is pregnant, and their relationship and life will fall apart more and more and everything will be completely exalted in the very end of the film, which certainly had much more potential than what he eventually delivered. It seemed a bit too monotonous, as if Ziyang couldn’t decide for himself whether to take the classic naturalistic path or whether “Wu Hai” would be more of one of those pleasant, melancholic films where an environment that is really fascinating plays an important role. This way it all stayed somewhere in the middle. Rating 6.5 / 10.

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Wu Hai (2021) 乌海 – Movie Trailer – Far East Films