With the sedate pace and beautiful cinematography matching material that doesn’t ever feel like it’s building up to any particular finale or resolution I can easily see why Here, There would be dismissed or even disliked by many. I really enjoyed it, I sat there in the cinema and just allowed the narrative and the snapshots of the world to wash over me. Engaging the heart more than the brain, this film feels very much like an old-fashioned epic spanning years and years when it does, in fact, only span a variety of locations as it shows the audience three different lives.
A reindeer herder goes about his business and looks forward to the time that he gets to spend with his young son, a boy he is sending away to a good school so that he can go on to do bigger and better things. A young man works for a restaurant owner while reconnecting with a young woman that he used to be a lot closer to. A different young man, the son of the aforementioned restaurant owner, loses his passport and money during a crime in Paris and finds himself bonding with an old man as he tries to at least recover his ID.
Directed by Lu Sheng (who also co-wrote the movie with Liu Yong and Xu Yang), this is a film that moves from start to finish with a quiet grace and strong sense of self-belief. Nothing is shouted at the audience or forced into the narrative, it’s just there and serves the purpose that it needs to serve. While this hardly leads to anything that you could call scorching cinema, it’s a lovely slice of life poised carefully between the real and the reel.
The cast are uniformly excellent – Lu Yulai, Huang Lu, Yao Anlian, Wang Deshun, Bai Yanbo and everyone else onscreen for any length of time – and all seem to show faith in the writing and cinematography with nicely restrained performances that slot perfectly into the big picture.
I can’t guarantee that anyone else watching this movie will react to it as I did, and I’ve not seen any other reviews on the movie as of this time, but I certainly hope that other movie lovers give it a try and perhaps find themselves as moved by this quietly affecting drama as I was. It may seem like nothing much is happening in the movie but it’s never a waste of time.
DIRECTOR: LU SHENG
WRITER: LIU YONG, XU YANG, LU SHENG
STARS: LU YULAI, HUANG LU, YAO ANLIAN, WANG DESHUN, BAI YANBO
RUNTIME: 93 MINS APPROX