While an absence - that of a certain Ah Beng - hovers over the set of human configurations of a small Chinese gang - this one declines its antagonisms and individualities with a complete absence of dialogue ... it is thus That one could sum up Ah Beng Returns , the second film of James Lee, singular Malaysian director to which the 9th Asian Film Festival of Deauville dedicated a tribute. Ah Beng Returns, an experimental work realized in DV camera, is a complex puzzle narrative that draws its interest and its richness in the intelligence - perhaps too assertive - of the staging of its individualities.
Sancho Does Asia | Ah Beng Returns
In spite of being interested in a group of people - Mafia and their loved ones - Ah Beng Returns seeks to highlight the in communicability that reigns in the multiple configurations of confrontation / juxtaposition of this plural entity. There is thus in the film, practically no dialogue in the strict sense. Even when two characters discuss, they do so regardless of the other. This distance, James Lee establishes it in a very aesthetic way in the attention paid to framing. Thus a couple, united at the table in an encompassing plan, is fragmented with each sentence uttered, a pillar masking its counterpart whenever one of its members speaks. When a mobster addresses his victim, facing the camera, the latter does not respond.From the point of view of the pure and pure production, Ah Beng Returns is of a certain interest, foreshadowing the hypnotic mastery of the astonishing Beautiful Washing Machine . James Lee enjoys himself with his lack of means that he transforms into an asset, his scenes of actions being played for example with shots of title card instead of making speak the powder in force surround , his decors being only meager Variations on the same partition, on which only a change of painting imposes a declination of the atmosphere of waiting that hovers over the film. The story unfortunately loses legibility during the experiment. If one understands the stylistic approach of James Lee.Read the full review on Sancho Does Asia