Disorder ★★★★½

City of chaos
The flows of dirty water.
Political protest
As Kafkaeqsue absurdism.
Beetle in the ramen.

Opening on a fire hydrant raining down in startling black and white, where the digitized grain is so blown out it feels like an alien city ("Forget it, Jake. It’s Guangzhou."), Disorder doesn’t take long to set up its major theme as “chaos.” Played with a double feature with the non-Boxd San Yuan Li, which only feels trite in its “wow look at how our city has improved”-tone compared to this revelatory work. Film collects its mini-narratives - the highway dancer, the roaming pigs, the flood, etc – and slowly transforms from Kafkaesque absurdism into a very grueling portrait of daily life. Shots of a man wading and fishing in what is clearly contaminated water had my stomach churning, An abandoned baby found in a field at first looks like part of a decapitated squid, thanks to the long shot and the cinematography. Becomes clearer and clearer that Huang sees this as a political work of art, but it only reveals this ever so slyly. All the major confrontations in this film are between the police and the city’s citizens, where the police are simply trying to maintain control. The film’s startlingly finale as citizens are finally arrested and pounded on the street is not some obvious final message, but almost the apex of the bubbling tension present in every scene. Takes my favorite aspects of both avant-garde cinema and documentary cinema and combines them in a stunning fashion – search this one out folks.