A Woman, A Gun And A Noodle Shop


Review by Harriet Robbins

This new film by Chinese director Zhang Yimou is a welcome thing indeed.

Ever since the debut of his first feature, Red Sorghum (1987), Timou has won countless awards--and deservedly so, because his multi-faceted talents in filmmaking are always put to good use for all to see and enjoy.

His latest film, inspired by the Coen brothers' Blood Simple, is not just a tribute to it but a film that shows an innovative style of its own. In my opinion, A WOMAN deserves to be called a modern classic.

A WOMAN offers much for the eye and mind to feast on, with eagerness and delight. It tells a simple tale of love, lust, greed and murder, yet manages to dramatize the human condition with insight and humor.

As Yimou has said, "One day a curious idea struck me: what would it be like if Blood Simple was made as a Chinese story? I gave the remake a rich Chinese flavor, added a sense of farcical humor at the beginning. The fun soon turns into riveting suspense. I also adopted the aesthetic style of the old Chinese opera piece, San Cha Kou. The result is the confinement of all the characters within the same space, each of them shifting roles with one another and making similar mistakes. This lays bare the absurdity of life, something ironically repetitive, always beyond control."

Once again, I have been entertained, enlightened and captivated by Yimou's work, especially by the actors' superb performances and by the unique set designs. The timing and expertly rendered humorous interludes reminded me of The Canterbury Tales, Commedia del Arte, and other stories with similar universal appeal.

A WOMAN, A GUN AND A NOODLE SHOP is now playing in selected theatres (in Mandarin, with English subtitles). Don't miss this very special film treat.