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Life Track

Intense stares, an obtuse, wafer-thin plot and possible exploitation of a disability all act as stop signals in the static, minimalist meller "Life Track."

Intense stares, an obtuse, wafer-thin plot and possible exploitation of a disability all act as stop signals in the static, minimalist meller “Life Track.” Slow-moving narrative is overly preoccupied with its lead thesp, a double amputee, and his (admittedly impressive) ability to perform everyday tasks. Pic may travel to fests in wake of its surprising win in Pusan’s New Currents competish, but is more likely to follow most previous winners into oblivion.

Armless Zeshu (Chui Jinghu) lives a stoic existence in an unnamed Chinese mountain region. Mute woman on the run Xiangshu (Jang So-yoen) finds shelter at Zeshu’s rural retreat, allowing the duo to silently bond over unrelated guilty secrets that remain unexpressed until the final reels. Commencing with a p.o.v. shot as Zeshu rolls a cigarette with his feet, the narrative wedges auds between fascination and embarrassment, offering few options beyond observing Chui’s incredible dexterity. Direction is inert, with the camera mostly staring at non-actors who simply stare back. For a trained cinematographer, helmer Jin Guang Hao appears to have been undemanding of lenser Zhu Jinze, whose HD camerawork is fuzzy. Tech credits are just OK.

Life Track

China-South Korea

  • Production: A Yanbian Broadcast Co., Beijing Mei Ren Song Culture Center (China)/Studio Nurimbo (South Korea) production. (International sales: Studio Nurimbo, Seoul.) Produced by Zhang Liu, Goh Young-jae. Directed, written by Jin Guang Hao.
  • Crew: Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Zhu Jin Ze; editor, Jin Guang Hao; production designer, Sheng Nian. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (New Currents -- competing), Oct. 7, 2007. Mandarin dialogue. Running time: 97 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Chui Jinghu, Jang So-yoen.
  • Music By: