Film Review: Soundless Wind Chime

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Berlin International Film Festival -- Forum

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BERLIN -- "Soundless Wind Chime" is the gay-themed first film of director Kit Hung, who was trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The story concerns the tumultuous love affair between a young Chinese man, a poor restaurant delivery boy recently arrived in Hong Kong, and a German-Swiss man who makes his living as a thief.

Director Hung has apparently been working on the film for five years, and it shows. Striving for a densely poetic texture, the film is so overloaded with superfluous technique, both visually and aurally, that it all gets in the way of the story itself, which is extremely difficult to follow. The incessant jerkiness of the hand-held camera also becomes wearisome after awhile.

The film also seems highly derivative. For example, random montage sequences employ either speeded-up or slowed-down motion, both of which seem to be borrowing from fellow Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai. The basic story line of the tragically star-crossed lovers, one of whom wants to be faithful and the other of whom wants to be promiscuous, also seems to derive from Wong's gay-themed film "Happy Together." When some old Chinese ladies spontaneously break into a surrealistic song-and-dance number, shattering the otherwise realistic form the film has sought to develop, a knowledgeable viewer can only think of Tsai Ming-Liang's "The Hole" from 1998.

One place where the technique works beautifully is in the haunting original soundtrack and sound design, but even these aspects of the film are undercut by Hung's tendency to dwell too long on a shot, milking it for every drop of emotion.

Production company: Keep in Touch Company
Cast: Lu Yulai, Bernhard Bulling
Director: Kit Hung
Screenwriter: Kit Hung
Producer: Jacqueline Liu, Kit Hung, Min Li Marti, Philip Delaquis, Stefan Zuber
Director of photography: Alex Shi Yue
Production designer: Nam Lau, Gill Wong
Music: Claudio Puntin and Insa Rudolph of Sepiasonic
Editor: Kit Hung
Sales: Golden Scene Company (Asia), Keep in Touch Company (World)
No rating, 110 minute
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