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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Movies
The Wasted Times
    2016-December-30  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    SHANGHAI gangsters and lovers struggle through the Japanese occupation during World War II in an art-house misfire.

    Written, directed and edited by Cheng Er, “The Wasted Times” is a poorly digested amalgam of work by art-house filmmakers like Zhang Yimou and Hou Hsiao-hsien. Despite two of Asia’s most accomplished stars and a plot laced with sex and violence, the movie is too confusing and poorly paced to find much of an audience.

    Cheng, who also wrote lyrics to two of the songs in the movie, chose to dismantle the structure of “The Wasted Times” into a smorgasbord of times and locations. The plot unfolds mostly between 1937 Shanghai and 1945 Luzon, focusing primarily on Lu (Ge You), a quiet, composed but ruthless mob boss first seen delivering an enemy the severed hand of his mistress.

    The film is a revenge story, set mainly in Shanghai during the conflict with the Japanese from the 1930s up to the end of World War II in 1945. The elements of love, hatred, and betrayal are on full display in the story. As loyal to his own people and refusal to collaborate with the Japanese, Lu is ambushed during an important meeting with the Japanese army, but his sister’s husband, Watabe (Tadanobu Asano) sacrifices himself to save Lu. Worse still, the Japanese brutally murder Lu’s children and sister. To avenge their deaths, Lu’s mistress attempts to kill the culprit but ends up dead.

    The story leads to the end of 1945 when Lu visits the abandoned wife of his former boss, Wang (Zhang Ziyi). She reveals that Watabe is still alive and did not sacrifice himself to save Lu, but is actually a Japanese spy responsible for the deaths of his family members and captured her as a slave in his basement. Given this new revelation, Lu takes Wang to the war camp where Watabe is held to finally make him pay for his bad deeds.

    If the story sounds confusing, the film is even more difficult to follow. It does not help that the director is fond of telling his tale in non-chronological order, making it artistic through weird songs (partly sung in English) and also often changing the setting of his film from Shanghai, to the Philippines to Japan. The languages spoken also shifts from Mandarin to Japanese.

    The historical film is made more emotional though the introduction of characters like the country bumpkin (and his sexual innocence) who learns the ropes about gang warfare. Cheng also seems quite interested in the activity of sex as illustrated in the many erotic sex scenes, including an artistically staged one in the back of a car.

    Ge’s impassive demeanor still conveys a world of emotion, but he is asked to do comparatively little. The strikingly beautiful and talented Zhang is forced to undergo a graphic rape and years of imprisonment as a sex slave.

    Cheng deserves credit for fashioning a glamorous pre-war Shanghai of Art Deco apartments, marble palaces, sleek limousines and expensive wardrobes, even if the settings often have a curiously deserted look. What “The Wasted Times” does with that world is depressingly pretentious, like its beautifully photographed puddles of blood pooling under innocent victims.

    (SD-Agencies)

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