Magazine article Screen International

'Vanishing Days': Hong Kong Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Vanishing Days': Hong Kong Review

Article excerpt

A 14-year-old girl grapples with her family history during one humid summer

Dir: Zhu Xin. China. 2018. 94mins

Vanishing Days is the debut from 22-year-old filmmaker Zhu Xin, set in Huangzhou in East China — an ancient city whose West Lake is an easily recognisable Unesco world heritage site. Huanghzou itself is as important as any of the characters who flit through this picture, which plays out like a graduation film from a clearly talented director who has been influenced by auteurs including Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul. There is some of cinematographer Christopher Doyle’s directorial debut Away With Words in here as well, as beautiful imagery plays out to an opaque scenario.

Zhu’s age and confidence speak towards a future of note.

Having played in Berlin’s Forum and now competing for the Young Cinema Award at Hong Kong International Film Festival, Vanishing Days will be watched by those on the hunt for young talent and festivals devoted to exposing it. Certainly, it is quite an achievement, shot over two years for less than $2,500. In the absence of an identifiable story to lock onto, the dreamy imagery of Huangzhou and its inhabitants flirts with viewer disengagement as one beautifully disconnected shot follows another.

Vanishing Days is mostly centred around the young Senlin (Jiang Li, a non-professional like the rest of the cast). …

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