Review: ‘Purple Sunset’

A didactic tale of international understanding amidst the dying embers of WWII, "Purple Sunset" throws together a Chinese, a Russian and a Japanese as they feud and bond in the Manchurian taiga. Quality-wise, writer-director-d.p. Feng Xiaoning's pic falls between "Red River Valley" (1995) and "Lover's Grief Over the Yellow River" (1999).

A didactic tale of international understanding amidst the dying embers of WWII, “Purple Sunset” throws together a Chinese, a Russian and a Japanese as they feud and bond in the Manchurian taiga. Succulently shot in widescreen but scuppered by the nationalism it purports to abhor, writer-director-d.p. Feng Xiaoning’s final leg of his East-meets-West trilogy is destined for Chinese film weeks only. Quality-wise, pic falls between “Red River Valley” (1995) and “Lover’s Grief Over the Yellow River” (1999).

In August ’45, Soviet troops invade northeast China to evict the Japanese and save peasant Yang (Fu Dalong) from a firing squad. He and Nadya (Anna Dzenilalova), paired up in the chaos, stumble across a fleeing teenager, Yoko (Chie Mieta), who first leads them out of the vast forests and then tries to double-cross them. Though well played by the sturdy Dzenilalova, Nadya is basically a bystander to traditional hatreds being worked out between Yang and Yoko: Unsurprisingly, Yoko eventually confesses her debt to China and how much she’s learned from Yang’s humanity. Despite script’s bald nationalism, all three leads acquit themselves creditably, but it’s as a widescreen lenser that Feng shows the most smarts.

Purple Sunset

China

Production

A Shanghai Paradise Film & TV Group Corp./Beijing Forbidden City Film Co. production. (International sales: Beijing Forbidden City, Beijing.) Produced by Yang Yubin, Zhou Puzi. Directed, written by Feng Xiaoning.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Feng; editor, Yan Jianbing; music, Li Ge; art directors, Zhang Heping, Guo Libin. Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (World Greats), Aug. 31, 2001. Running time: 107 MIN.

With

Fu Dalong, Anna Dzenilalova, Chie Mieta, Wang Xuewei.
(Mandarin, Russian & Japanese dialogue.)
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading