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“The Mistake by the River”: There is no correct answer to the “wrong” life story – Entertainment – China Industry Network


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“Mistake by the River”: A “wrong” life story with no right answers

China News Service, Beijing, November 4th (Reporter Wang Shiyao) “What a avant-garde movie, I went crazy first!” The movie “The Mistake by the River” adapted from the famous writer Yu Hua’s novel of the same name has so far exceeded 2 box office 100 million, the best result for a film of this type this year.

The original work “The Mistake by the River” was published in 1988 and is one of Yu Hua’s pioneer masterpieces. It is reported that the film and television rights of “The Mistake by the River” have been resold many times, and Zhang Yimou also bought the rights and planned to adapt it into a thriller. After Yu Hua saw the adapted script, he turned to Zhang Yimou and recommended his novel “Alive”, which had not yet been officially published at the time. In this way, “Alive” hit the big screen nearly 30 years earlier than “The Mistake on the River”.

The movie “The Mistake by the River” sets the background of the story in the 1990s. A murder that occurred by the river broke the tranquility of the town. Following the in-depth investigation by police officer Ma Zhe (played by Zhu Yilong), the suspect identified the madman (played by Kang Chunlei) adopted by the victim Yaosi’s mother-in-law. However, during the investigation, many witnesses who had appeared by the river were killed one after another, causing Ma Zhe’s mental state to undergo drastic changes. Reality and illusion appear alternately, the story ends abruptly, and the truth is unknown.

After the film ended, the first reaction of many viewers was to be stunned, “Is this the end?” “Do you understand?” “So who is the murderer?”… The audience looked at each other in confusion, and then locked their eyes on the big screen. scrolling subtitles, looking forward to an ending easter egg to be told the final outcome. After the last line of text disappeared from the screen, everyone had no choice but to pick up their mobile phones and start searching for movie analysis and the content of the original novel.

Previously, Yu Hua introduced at the film premiere at the Pingyao International Film Festival that what this film wants to express is an openness. It is unfinished, and the audience’s viewing allows the work to continue to be completed.

Of course, the creative team has already told the audience on the poster that this is a movie with “no answers”. Another slogan on the poster, “It’s better to go crazy” also hints at the direction of the entire story.

Poster image of the movie “The Mistake on the River”.Image source: Official Weibo of the movie “The Mistake by the River”

Can the “wrong” answer be the truth?

Although they have been told that “there is no answer”, many viewers will still subconsciously want to explore – what mistakes were made in “The Mistake on the River”?

First of all, the name of the film seems to give away the answer. The mistake happened near the river. The fourth mother-in-law who is addicted to abuse and beaten, a poet whose feelings are not accepted by the world, a “transvestite” hairdresser who has been framed, and even a child with a strong voyeuristic desire…

The never-ending river witnesses everyone’s “mistakes” but is “indifferent” to their tragic endings. Like the movie’s English title being changed from “Only the River Knows” to “Only the River Flows,” it doesn’t matter what the truth is. Because the river is always flowing, mistakes are discovered and overwritten by new mistakes, and there is no so-called “right” answer.

However, Ma Zhe, who was obsessed with finding the “correct” answers, could not turn a blind eye to these “errors”. Even if the evidence is conclusive, the motive of why the docile madman who outsiders say suddenly killed the fourth mother-in-law is not enough to convince Ma Zhe, making him reluctant to close the case. So he followed other clues and discovered the secret hidden by Wang Hong and Qian Ling on the B side of the tape, and at the same time revealed Xu Liang’s “transvestite fetish” that he did not want to be exposed to the public…

Ma Zhe’s “pursuit of justice” did not lead to the imagined truth, but instead led more people to a tragic ending. At the same time, the overwhelmed Ma Zhe fell into the swamp of reality and fantasy, and gradually went “crazy”.

“People cannot understand fate, so I pretended to be fate. I put on the confused and unpredictable faces of the gods.” In the opening subtitles of the film, the director uses the words of Albert Camus, a representative figure of “absurd philosophy” The famous quote leaves the audience with something to think about. An impenetrable destiny is like a life without correct answers. What matters is how you understand the world.

Poster image of the movie “The Mistake on the River”.Image source: Official Weibo of the movie “The Mistake by the River”

“A thousand viewers and a hundred million Hamlets”

The story of the movie “The Mistake on the River” takes place in the 1990s. The entire film was shot on 16mm film. The picture will have a rough and hazy effect. The director explained that he hopes to restore the true situation of the era from a realistic perspective.

In fact, this low-quality, blurry lens looks back at the past from an observer’s perspective. If the audience wants to be immersed in the story itself, no matter how long ago it is, the eyes of those who have experienced it will always be real and clear.

But as the plot progresses, you will gradually understand the director’s intention. Ma Zhe’s office was moved to the stage of the cinema, slides of suspect scenes were continuously played, and a burning projector… The director built another “stage of life” in the real world that seemed to be an illusion but not an illusion. Ma Zhe, the truth he pursues so hard can only get the answer in fantasy.

The “disappearing” third-class merit, the puzzle pieces that cannot be flushed, the bullets left in the shells, and the 10% of children who may be defective. These plots drove Ma Zhe into madness and pushed the audience’s desire for discussion to the top.

After the movie was released, a group of “river experts” emerged, and a hotly searched topic on Weibo was “One thousand viewers, 100 million Hamlets.” They couldn’t wait to find the original works to read. From music to movies, from criminal investigation, sociology to psychology, various viewpoints collided and diverged.

Because the creative team has stated that “there is no answer”, it brings unlimited room for imagination and discussion to the ending of the story. With the continuous fermentation of social reputation, this batch of “tap water” successfully helped the movie break through the circle.


Poster image of the movie “It’s Worth It”.Image source: Official Weibo of the movie “It’s Worth It”

The threshold for literary and artistic films has been transformed into a slope?

In the past, literary and artistic films were often characterized by strong artistry and outstanding style. Their themes and content were niche, and the threshold for viewing was relatively high. This resulted in shortcomings such as a small audience and low commercial value.

More than a month ago, the literary film “It’s Worth It” starring Hu Ge was released. He once shouted to the audience at a road show: “Maybe in the market, this is not a particularly commercial movie, but we also need the box office, and we need to let more people see what Chinese movies should look like now.” The results showed little success, and the film ultimately only received less than 30 million at the box office.

Before the release of “It’s Worth It”, it won two awards for Best Director (Liu Jiayin) and Best Actor (Hu Ge) at the 25th Shanghai International Film Festival, plus two high-profile actors, Hu Ge and Wu Lei. Actors who are popular and have their own “traffic” make the audience and the market have high expectations for the film.

After the film was released, the reviews were polarized. Some people could sympathize with the film’s sentiments about life and death, while others commented that the film was the director’s “self-impression”, was too literary and artistic, and lacked a sense of reality in the story.

Similar to this is the movie “Burning Winter” starring Liu Haoran, Zhou Dongyu, and Qu Chuxiao. The movie was released on the Chinese Valentine’s Day, and the early short video marketing focused on the intricacies of love, causing viewers who rushed to watch the romance movie to call themselves “scammed.”

Even if feelings can be explained by “unexplainable”, the core of the story and the relationship between the characters must always have basic logic. Why are the three young people confused and confused, and what is their true yearning in their hearts? The audience is expected to “figure it out” by themselves, but there are few clues, which is hollow and boring.

Before the release of “The Mistake on the River”, the highest-grossing literary film this year was “Space Exploration Editorial”. Although it did not have the support of a big-name star, the lovable theme of comedy + science fiction diluted the “highbrow” temperament of the literary film and became a “pseudo-documentary” “The format is more innovative and realistic, and ultimately earned more than 67 million yuan at the box office.

The movie “The Mistake on the River” has grossed over 100 million yuan in the three days since its release, and it has exceeded 200 million yuan so far, setting the best performance for a film of this type so far this year. Some netizens commented that “Mistake by the River” not only targets the audience, but also leaves a slope and welcomes all audiences.

In fact, the tone of the movie is still that of a literary film, which implicitly depicts the unknown marginal life of a minority group. However, it has consciously changed the threshold for movie viewing, leaving a gap for the audience to climb up as long as they are willing. The open ending leaves the right of interpretation to the audience.

Nowadays, if literary and artistic films want to attract more audiences, it will be even more difficult to rely solely on the blessing of popular celebrities or “miserable” or “fraudulent” publicity. The new audience’s requirements for literary and artistic films have changed. Creators should not be trapped in self-impression and ask the audience to understand you, but should take the initiative to build the “slope” that connects the audience.

The article is in Chinese

Tags: Mistake River correct answer wrong life story Entertainment China Industry Network


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