The Postmodern Life of My Aunt ★★★★

Nice to see Chow Yun-fat carrying on the tradition of Hong Kong stars dressing in ridiculous clothes well into his 50s. The only difference is that now they're ridiculous old man clothes. Of course, then he walks off-screen, twirling his duster onto his shoulders, and I'll be damned if he isn't still one of the coolest guys on the planet.

Few films I've seen capture so well the split in contemporary China between the cities and the country. There's a sequence, near the end of the film, silent but for Joe Hisaishi's delicately lovely score, where the eponymous aunt (Siqin Gaowa), a woman in her late 50s, is leaving her beloved Shanghai to return to her family in Anshan (director Ann Hui's hometown). She had left them behind years before, but now, after falling victim to a series of scams and being confronted by her estranged daughter (the radiant-as-always Zhao Wei), she's going back to Manchuria. As she rides away, she watches the lights and skyscrapers and marvels of the city. The camera pulls away, high over an interchange, streetlights and headlights merging into a glorious circle, like something out of Playtime. The colors slowly drain away to black and white and the film cuts to Anshan, cold, gray, industrial and desolate. It's heart-breaking, but there's a giant moon there too.