A silent woman is surrounded by a cacophony of noise. The screeching bus, the constant chatter, a crying baby—and amidst it all we focus in on a woman sitting silently with no discernible emotion. Our protagonist is Guo Jianbo, a journalist in Communist China. While her face shows little emotion, she partakes in much action throughout the film. In the following scene she sits face to face interviewing a pedophile. “They did it out of their own free will,” he states as the camera pans towards him. There is a beat of silence. Jianbo’s bag hits him in the face. This all occurs within the first five minutes.
The film follows Jianbo, her mother, Meiling, and her daughter, Wanting. These three women navigate life together and individually amidst grave dysfunction. Jianbo and Meiling creep around each other in the house, avoiding direct confrontation. A lit cigarette and smoke curling around Jianbo in the kitchen prompts Meiling to rush in and scold her for doing so in front of guests.
Jianbo silently turns, stoops underneath the sink, and unhooks the pipe. As water rushes across the floor causing commotion among the guests she slips away. While they both dance around each other, nine-year-old Wanting speaks her mind freely, raising tensions. “Who would like a person like you?” Wanting asks Meiling.
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Throughout Spring Tide, surrounding sounds prevail. With so much silence from Jianbo the creaking of floorboards, opening of doors, and sounds of the city weave their way through the film adding to the tense atmosphere. The tension is palpable and present in every bit of each of the characters’ lives as Jianbo sleeps in a dorm across town, while Meiling tucks Wanting into bed each night. Set in the context of Communist China, we hear Meiling sing songs praising the country while Jianbo struggles to be a truthful journalist. Although the film is slow paced the intensity kept this writer engaged to the last scene.
The distinct framing of the characters and nuanced expressions makes it a close watch, each second packed with emotion. Those that enjoy family dramas and high-tension films will surely like Spring Tide.
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Directed by Lina Yang
Cast: Hao Lei, Elaine Jin Yan-ling, Qu Junxi, Li Wenbo, Huang Shanghe
To watch this film the Ovid.tv page for SPRING TIDE
Images Courtesy of Ovid.tv
About the Author: Keaton Hemminger
If you told Keaton she could live in a library she’d jump at the chance and then never be heard from for years. Keaton is an avid consumer of all media, always wanting to be invested in a story being told and guessing how it ends. One of her favorite activities is people-watching, she loves considering each person’s destination. A good book, a window above a busy street, and a mug of earl grey tea and Keaton could be occupied for a lifetime.