Dunce Dance in Johnnie To’s Sparrow (2008) October 21, 2008Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Cinemanila.
Chinese Title: Man Jeuk
Directed by Johnny To
Cast: Simon Yam, Kelly Lin, Ka Tung Lam
Dumbfounded after a film screening can only mean two things, either the film is stupid or you are. Johnny To’s Sparrow is too hypnotic I easily slipped into numbness after the opening scene. The casualness of its treatment, the sublime humor of the pickpockets, the umbrellas and the rain in that beautifully choreographed sequence, the piercing precision of shots, Xavier Jamaux and Fred Avril’s transmogrifying music that defies gravitational pull, the buoyant delivery of minimalist action, the allusion to Melville which Dodo tipped off, even that avian parallelism to Le Samouraï – – everything feels like being trapped in an eighty-seven minute valse – – moody and eclectic, slow and sparingly evocative, driving sideways in deceiving rhythm, paced in what may have been called an assault to nothingness – – watching it is being an assassin of meaningless boredom. Stupefied, there’s no other way to react afterward but appear stupid.