Pretension is high on the menu in "All Tomorrow's Parties," a joyless tranche of post-apocalyptic dystopia set in continental East Asia that's headed nowhere except arty fests and digital friendly events.

Pretension is high on the menu in “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” a joyless tranche of post-apocalyptic dystopia set in continental East Asia that’s headed nowhere except arty fests and digital friendly events. Hong Kong helmer (Nelson) Yu Lik-wai’s first feature, “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” a flawed but moody portrayal of Mainland Chinese immigrants, seems a model of clarity and atmosphere in retrospect.

Setting is the mid-21st century (on a budget), when the neo-Maoist Gui Dao sect rules throughout China and the Korean peninsula. Brothers Xie Xiaozhuai (Diao Yi’nan) and Xie Xiaomian (Zhao Weiwei) are rounded up and sent to Camp Prosperity, a gulag where Xiaozhuai meets Korean single mom Xuelan (Jo Yeong-weon) and Xiaomian hooks up with sickly Chinese woman Lanlan (Na Ren). When an (unseen) coup frees them, Xiaozhuai and Xuelan travel to a ruined industrial city, where more proto-fascism awaits them. Dialogue is terse and elliptical, largely composed of unanswered questions (“Are you from Mongolia?” Reply: “Why are you going south?”), and perfs stiff and emotionally desiccated. Listed among associate producers is cult Mainland helmer Jia Zhangke (“Platform”), which gives a hint of the French-produced pic’s arid tone.

All Tomorrow's Parties

Un Certain Regard / France

Production

A Lumen Films production, in association with Hu Tong Communications, Won & Won Pictures, Teleimage. (International sales: Celluloid Dreams, Paris.) Produced by Hengameh Panahi, Li Kit-ming. Directed, written by Yu Lik-wai.

Crew

Camera (color, HDCam DV), Lai Yiu-fai; editor, Chow Keung; music, Yoshishiro Hanno; art directors, Zhao Xiaoyu, Qiu Sheng; costumes, Fu Jingping. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard), May 16, 2003. Mandarin & Korean dialogue. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Jo Yeong-weon, Diao Yi'nan, Zhao Weiwei, Na Ren.
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