SUBURBAN BIRDS – Review by Diane Carson

In his impressive but elusive feature film debut, Suburban Birds, writer/director Sheng Qiu offers two stories implicitly commenting on each other. They thereby suggest a handful of heady ideas for contemplation without ever explicitly mounting an argument for them. Further separating events into two parallel tracks, Sheng chooses different cinematic styles for each of the narrative threads.

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THE FAREWELL – Review by Susan Granger

Written and directed by Lulu Wang, based on her own experiences, this intergenerational-bonding comic drama revolves around a Chinese-American artist, Billi (Awkwafina), living in Brooklyn, who returns to her hometown in northeastern China when she learns that her adored Nai-Nai – grandmother in Mandarin- has Stage IV lung cancer.

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ASH IS THE PUREST WHITE – Review by Diane Carson

Slowly, very slowly and deliberately over two and a third hours, writer/director Zhangke Jia’s Ash Is Purest White nonjudgmentally watches as Qiao’s world falls apart. Incidentally but significantly, the Chinese environment that provides the backdrop implicitly exposes economic and social deterioration between 2001 to 2017: mines closing, workers unemployed, gambling and gangsters pervasive.

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