Soul on a String (2017)
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Soul on a String has a modern Chinese epic feel, but has a quirky individuality that harks back to a time when Chinese and Hong Kong films had their own style, and not the mass-produced feel of so many of today's Hollywood tentpole films.
Chinese director Zhang Yang eschews the thrill of propulsive duels for a discursive allegorical approach, serving up picturesque visuals, highland-dry humor, and karmic plot twists.
Zhang Yang's follow-up to last year's amazing SIFF entry Paths of the Soul is a thoroughly gorgeous, intriguingly metaphysical take on the western.
Striking widescreen shots of ochre deserts and verdant landscapes help blend the lines between magic realism and classic man-on-the-run format, if you have patience for the two-and-a-half-hour viewing to take it in.
A beguiling combination of Western and Buddhist parable, Zhang Yang's latest is a beautiful and thought-provoking work which suffers from being overlong and narratively unfocused.
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