‘I Am Not Madame Bovary’ Review – The Hollywood Reporter

Superstar director’s rant Feng Xiaogang reducing China’s economy, legal system and government incompetence to ashes I’m not Madame Bovary, but the same can be done for those who are locked in a long-standing mockery that has coy visual effects on the story and the characters. Starring an unknown Fan Bingbing in her career-defining performance, the story of a village woman obsessed with bringing her abusive husband to court will likely put many to shame. fans of the actor. However, her relentless chutzpah as a single woman makes it easy for her to communicate with the heroine. Although it may not be a blockbuster, the film’s serious criticism of the industry and its impact on ordinary people will give it a social presence when it bows in China at the end of the month. , until he drew on action planning and comic dialogue. draw the art house that follows in the West.

The Bottom Line

Radical technical choices limit the world of a criminal village woman, and the viewer.

This marks the reunion of director, actor and screenwriter Liu Zhenyun more than a decade after their 2003 comedy. Cell phone It satirized contemporary Chinese society and cemented Feng’s reputation as a skilled director who could combine popular humor with social themes. There is an undeniable chemistry in it Bovary That’s why jokes about government atrocities are hilarious. Some prefer Liu’s screenplay, based on his own book, to be shorter.

The elephant in the room is a technical aspect: Feng’s first comic, then annoying choice to play with changing the aspect ratio. If a different technology (3D, for example) is needed and the audience forgets it during the movie, here is the most difficult thing to go. The large round screen gives the story the feeling of looking at a Chinese painting or at least the details are all there but very hard to see. Fan Bingbing’s face, for example.

Narrating an entire two-hour film over the phone was something DW Griffith couldn’t do. At the beginning of this limitation itself to raise a smile, but when it is clear that the film will not be opened in any kind of full screen, the gag becomes sad. The only relief to be found, ironically, was during the proceedings organized in Beijing at a national conference, when Feng and his cameraman Luo Pan changed the beauty of a vertical mask. If the round structure represents an ancient world that has not survived to this day, the square represents the shared vision of an unstable social system.

Liu Zhenyun’s screenplay is strongly reminiscent of Zhang Yimou The Story of Qiu Ju, in which Gong Li portrays a pregnant farmer who seeks justice for her husband from distant government officials. Here the heroine is Li Xuelian, or Lian, an uneducated village woman who has a grievance. In order to make use of the bathroom, which was only available to married couples, Lian and her husband Qin agreed to divorce. After they make out, Qin is given a long apartment, but instead of remarrying Lian as planned, he marries someone else. Lian was left to suffer, angry outside in the cold.

She files a lawsuit to remarry Qin, then leaves him “truly”, but the county court under Judge Wang throws out the case. Later, he bravely welcomes the Chief Justice, the county chief and the last mayor, but each officer interrupts him in amusing scenes, well-written and made to laugh. When she confronts Qin, she refuses to accept that their marriage is a scam and attacks her by accusing her of being “Madame Bovary”, described in an erotic comedy by like the Chinese word for slut.

Looking through the telescope, an angry Lian can be seen flying around in his own little world, just like the art of the paintings in Han Zhong’s amazing design. Stymied every time, he decided to take his case to Beijing. There she lives with an old schoolmate, Zhao Datou (Guo Tao), who first fell in love with her. As luck would have it, he was a chef at the house where top officials gather once a year for the National People’s Congress. His eyes sparkled. Feng cleverly avoided his encounter with the big man outside the courtyard; The mass shooting itself defines society, unashamedly in its case as an example of bad government. His political agenda was clear, even after he had dismissed the county chief, the chief justice and the mayor.

The delegates’ treatment of everything he said was a roll, and these scenes of the conference are the most successful lampooning in the film.

Lian goes to the temple to thank the Buddha for serving justice on his enemies, but what about the treacherous Qin, who is so great? He didn’t do it.

The second half of the film, which takes place ten years later, is very different from the first half, and includes a sense of boredom. years old. They will do anything to stop him from going to Beijing and embarrass them in front of the people high up on the totem pole – no one will decide his case, which is the saddest joke.

Despite the reinvention of the wheel, some important questions are left open, such as the question of whether Lian has a child and where he is. Most importantly, the whole problem of defamation of her moral character is ignored, although it is often said that being called Madame Bovary in public is the best humiliation. However, no one has said anything about it outside of Lian himself.

Like the fighter she plays, Fan Bingbing holds her own against an all-male cast against her, and showcases her talents as a comedienne in a low-key setting. As the movie goes on, his clothes and dirty hair get better, but his peasant style doesn’t change. A final reveal scene is the only glimpse we actually get of the actor’s familiar face.

Production companies: Beijing Sparkle Roll Media, Huayi Brothers Media, Beijing Skywheel Entertainment, Huayi Brothers Pictures, Zhejiang Dongyang Mayla Media

Cast: Fan Bingbing, Guo Tao, Da Peng, Yin Yuanzhang, Feng Enhe, Liu Xin, Zhao Yi, Zhao Lixin, Jiang Yongbo, Liu Hua, Li Zonghan, Huang Jianxin, Gao Ming, Yu Hewei, Zhang Jiayi, Tian Xiaojie, Zhang Yi

Director: Feng Xiaogang

Author: Liu Zhenyun, based on his novel

Producer: Hu Xiaofeng

Executive Producers: Wang Zhonglei, Jerry Ye

Director of Photography: Luo Pan

Producer: Han Zhong

Editor: William Chang Suk Ping

Music: Du Wei

Global Market: Wild goosebumps

128 minutes

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