The first of two very dark and powerful suspense crime dramas from China (which are being screened together on the same night to make for a powerful double feature, WRATH OF SILENCE is only the second feature of Xin Yukun, but its sweeping cinematography and lurid interiors suggests a visionary at work. The backdrop of a desert landscape, peppered by sparsely populated villages of miners and their families, is integral to the story. Characters are moved into this minefield by motivations that speak both of their integrity and where their lot in society lies: finding a missing child, building a monopoly on work sites. Yunkun uses aggressive behavior as another way of defining characters, their weapons and manner of striking out extensions of who they are, be it the utilization of anything of nature within a grabbing range, or a polished and apparently expensive bow and arrow set used for hunting its owner’s quarry. It is a fantastic instance of strife arising from worlds colliding.
Violence is often jarring, and can downright brutal when making a point,. Visuals are left lingering in the viewers’ mind. Yunkun’s navigation of calm and calamity make this one of the strong picks of the festival.
WRATH OF SILENCE is being screened at the 2018 New York Asian Film Festival on Monday, July 9th, at 6:30 PM at the Walter Reade Theater. Director Xin Yukun and actor Jiang Wu will attend the screening for a Q & A, and Jiang will be presented with the NYAFF 2018 Star Asia Award. Visit the NYAFF homepage for tickets and information.