Magazine article Screen International

The Black Square

Magazine article Screen International

The Black Square

Article excerpt

Dir/scr: Hiroshi Okuhara. Japan. 2012. 144mins

A leisurely art-house delve into time and space, reality and illusion, writer/director Hiroshi Okuharu's film The Black Square veers between been intellectually intriguing to gently romantic, and while with his editor's hat on he should have kept the film a good deal tighter it remains engagingly artistic.

The Black Square offers enough tantalising and intriguing moments to sustain its slender storyline.

The film, which had its world premiere in competition at the Tokyo International Film Festival, could well feature on the festival circuit, but would seem unlikely to receive much of a formal theatrical release beyond Japan or China. Shot on location around Beijing and largely in Mandarin, the film at least offers an unusual perspective of the city.

In an artists' village on the outskirts of Beijing, struggling artist Zhao-Ping (Dan Hong) wakes early one morning and is bemused to see a strange black object hovering over the city. He follows this large black object - a rectangle rather than a square - and when it lands upright in a field it leads him to a man (Hideo Nakaizumi) who seems to have lost his memory.

Zhao-Ping has the niggling feeling that he has met the man before, but cannot place him, and takes him into his home. …

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