Cities of Last Things – Neon Demon
Awared in Beaune, the first feature film by Wi Ding Ho demonstrates once again the strength of the Asian thriller.
By Jacques Braunstein
Viewing time 2 min.
It’s always difficult to talk about a movie built in flashbacks without revealing too much. Especially when, like Cities of Last Things, Grand Prix of the Beaune International Police Film Festival, its unfolding is strictly anti-chronological. That is to say that each part is linked with a part that is anterior which bring us from the death to the birth of the hero.
One of the saddest films
we have ever seen
We will remain deliberately a little unclear… revealing that the movie begins with a scene of revenge and that the unfolding will allow us to understand the reasons why the former policeman Xiao (Lee Hong-Chi) commits multiple murders (the first minutes of the film).
Even compared to standards of Asian thrillers, which are far more pessimistics than ours, Cities of Last Things is one of the saddest films we have ever seen. Tied with The Looming Storm, which also won the Grand Prix in Beaune last year (a funny festival somehow).
Cities of Last Things focuses on Xiao’s Way of the Cross. Between corruption, betrayal and settling of scores and is only lit by a short moment of happiness. When he meets Ara, a kleptomaniac expatriate with which he fall in love at first sight. During the few scenes of the French Louise Grinberg (17 Girls, The Prayer…), that we had not imagined that sexy, the neon lights that illuminate the whole film are warmer… Then, as the day comes up, Xiao’s “history of violence” resumes its unstoppable tragedy.
Cities of Last Things is the first feature film by the Malaysian filmmaker Wi Ding Ho and is a Sino-Taiwanese co-production. A Land Imagined made in Singapore by Chinese-born filmmaker Siew Hua Yeo triumphed in Locarno in 2018 and Nina Yu, a Taiwanese film directed by Midi Z, who is part of the Chinese minority in Burma, was screened this year at Cannes in the un Certain selection. We can probably say that the cinema made by the Chinese diaspora filmmakers are more pop than its continental equivalent, particularly dynamic today.