Saturday, July 22, 2017

Fantasia '17 Film Review - Free and Easy

Soap Salesman comes to a small northern seemingly abandoned town in winter time. He meets a young man (Chen Xi) upon arrival. The young man displays his athletics and talks about his Kung Fu ability. The Salesman opens his briefcase to offer a free bar of soap so he can spread the word around town. The Salesman encourages a smell test as the bar is unique having a different scent on all four  sides. After a few sniffs the young man falls to the ground unconscious allowing the salesman  the opportunity to empty out his pockets. After coming to youth meets a Monk (Xu Gang) who claims that his temple has just burned down offering a blessed talisman for a donation. Ncxt he heads to the police station to report the crime. There he finds two officers identified only by number that are more interested in taking the latest pill rather than solving a crime.

Director Geng Jung brings together a cast of small minded criminals mixed with down and outers to form a bumbling group of the downtrodden in an abandoned. Cinematographer Wang Weihua gets the most of the desolate environment using an abundance of natural light as it flows over and through decrepit structures reflecting off of the thin layer of slow. Viewers could find issue with the pacing of the film. Scenes are simply composed measuredly highlighting the mundane.

Zang Ziyong heads the cast of part time actors as the Salesman. Xu Gang is next prominent as the Temple less Monk. Xue Baohe occupies the most thoughtful role as the arborist fighting a series of tree thefts that it's unclear if they are real or imagined.

Free and Easy is a farcical tale set in a remote location. Pacing may be an issue for some but Director Jung has something to say about elements of Chinese society plus the hustler grifter in general. As the one pure character Gu Benbin a Christian looking for his long missing mother puts it you reap what  you sow.

*** Out of 4.

Free and Easy | Geng Jung | China | 2016 | 90 Minutes.

Tags: China, Winter, Soap, Flyers, Talisman, Robbery, Scam, Gun, Christian, Buddhist.

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