Review: ‘My Spectacular Theater’

Low-budget Chinese romancer can't see its way through to sustained drama or comedy.

Despite its cute concept of a “cinema for the blind,” low-budget Chinese romancer “My Spectacular Theater” can’t see its way through to sustained drama or comedy. Referencing both Hitchcock and Takeshi Kitano, debutant helmer/co-scripter Lu Yang has an obvious affection for international cinema but is unable to turn his schoolboy crush into anything more mature. Pic’s unrefined script and technical roughness, despite smooth HD edges, will ensure it remains confined to the fest circuit’s digital ghetto, despite its audience award at Pusan.

A pirate-DVD salesman on the lam, Chen Yu (Zhou Yiwei) takes refuge, and then a job, with a widower (Jin Shijie), who runs a cinema that caters to Beijing’s blind community. Lu and co-writer Chen Shu seem awed by their charming premise, but lose focus when the protag gets caught among three potential romances and later an extended dream sequence. Original use of digital techniques showcases Lu’s helming promise, as do the endearing perfs; Re Yizha displays strong comedy chops as a shopgirl who feigns blindness to win Chen Yu’s heart.

My Spectacular Theater

China

Production

A Western Movie Group Co., Xi'an Film Studio Corp., Want Want China Times Media Co., LeTV Pictures Co. production. (International sales: Western Movie Group, Shan'xi, China.) Produced by Zhang Hong, Li Aimin, Wu Shangfei, Zhong Wei, Sun Yi'an. Executive producers, Wang Zhanliang, Tsai Shao Chung, Jia Yueting. Directed by Lu Yang. Screenplay, Chen Shu, Lu.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Han Bin; editor, Zhu Libin; music, Zhao Dan; production designer, Zhao Xiaolong. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (New Currents), Oct. 8, 2010. Running time: 120 MIN.

With

Zhou Yiwei, Jin Shi-jie, Jin Shijie, Liu Yuanyuan, Wang Jiang, Re Yizha. (Mandarin, English dialogue)

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