Monday, March 21, 2016

Devils on the Doorstep (Jiang Wen, 2000): Mini-Film Review

Jiang Wen's (director, writer, star) classic Devils on the Doorstep (2000) is a dark and brooding portrayal of 1945 China at the tail end of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Jiang Wen's film focuses on a group of peasants in rural Hebei China who are asked to hide two prisoners--a Japanese soldier and a Chinese collaborator--by a mysterious figure in the middle of the night who threatens to destroy the peasants' small town if they do not comply. Torn between following this strange order, staying true to their heritage and sound moral character, and avoiding the watchful eye of the encamped Japanese army, the peasants undergo a series of trials that occupy the liminal space between humor and terror until the film's climax. The film is shot in black and white with the exception of an unforgettable sequence captured in color.

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