Thursday, April 20, 2017

King of Peking (2017) Tribeca 2017

Glorious celebration of a cinema and fathers and sons is one of the must sees at this year's Tribeca.

The film has Big Wong and Little Wong sending their time together. Big Wong is getting divorced from his wife who wants custody of their son. Unfortunately neither of the guys wants that to happen and they spend their time trying to screen American movies for the masses. When plans go awry, they end up running a bootleg DVD operation out of the basement of a movie house...

Funny, touching and possessing a glorious love of movies that is only rivaled by CINEMA PARADISO, KING OF PEKING is simply a movie lovers delight. Framed as a buddy film the film is full of references from top to bottom- not only is the dialog a running trivia game of film titles, but the film is shot in various ways that echo earlier films, (rear screen projection and riffs on other films)  while the film's score if full of themes used in other films. If you love movies you will end up tallying all the references that fill this film.

Normally I hate films that are overly referential to other films- Quentin Tarantino's body of work being a prime example, however here in KING OF PEKING it all works beautifully because the characters (and the filmmakers) are such film fans that the movies bleed into and out of their very being. This is a film that is very much like being trapped in the lives of terminal film fans who find everything a reference to some film some where. I mean Big Wong is so hardcore he freely admits that for years he thought people in Europe lived in black and white. That may sound weird until you realize I know film fans who literally remember movies as their lives. They have blended the films into their eistence

I can't say enough good about the film, this film is just an absolute joy from start to finish. This is one of those films that reminded me of the fun one can have when one is a film lover

This film was described to me as a kind of CINEMA PARADISO, and it kind of is to some degree, but largely it is it's own glorious thing, with no sense of bittersweetness and none of the lovey dovey stuff that took away from the Toto and Alfredo in the earlier film. Largely this is just a film about a father and son who forge a bond over film.

I love this film to pieces.

One of the best films at Tribeca and one of my favorite films of 2017. You must see this film.

1 comment:

  1. Steve, CINEMA PARADISO is one of my favorite films of all-time. I have seen it no less than 20 times -6 in a theater- have introduced it at a local festival and have written a marathon review on it at my site. While I deeply respect your opinion always we are not on the same wave length with THE KING OF PEKING, which I liked well enough but found totally unremarkable. It is clear that the beloved Italian film was the model and the film references rather diminished the film's over-the-top reference points. And the film was not remotely as joyful nor as exhilarating. Compared to Tornatore, Morricone and all those iconic artists this film was strictly amateurish. Yet I did find it entertaining and devilish, and a bold effort for an American director to negotiate it in Mandarin. For me I don't see it as ending up as one of the best films of the festival, but I do agree with you on HOLY AIR, which I did see yesterday as well and I loved.