An existential tale of revenge set in contemporary China.
People Mountain People Sea is about a poor man, coming home to the mountain, whose younger brother was killed. Identified by the police, the murderer had time to fled before being arrested. So, the poor man decides to go on a journey to track down the killer.
This chinese film depicts police corruption as well as poverty in remote places. Considering these as sensitive subjects in China, it may explain why the film was announced as the “surprise” entry at the Venice Film Festival 2011. A way to avoid upsetting chinese authorities & to keep them from blocking other chinese films selected?
Shot in mainland China, director Cai Shangjun carefully created beautiful visuals, with long takes allowing us to enjoy some of the landscapes. For what looks like to be a moody revenge story. Now, according to the first reviews, the film is a “formally impressive drama” but seems to forget his audience, with a “certain narrative vagueness” and “obliquely drawn” characters.
The english title refers to a chinese idiom, meaning “huge crowds of people”.