Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Zhou Yu’s Train

(Zhou Yu de huo che, China, 2002)

We see a great many foreign films. I get the impression that, taken as a whole, films from other countries are more thoughtful, better written, more likely to be out of the box than films from the US. Hollywood makes some great movies, no question, and we are the masters of the big budget extravaganza … which is often just awful.

But something else is at work here. Only the best films from other countries are likely to get much of a release in the US. I tend to forget that all countries produce a heck of a lot of crap that we never see. They also produce routine potboilers. If they have a bankable international star in them, they will probably be exported. This is one of those. It stars the stunningly beautiful Li Gong, who is also a great actress. She has several Hollywood movies in the pipeline. But Zhou Yu’s Train is an empty exercise. Because it is so pretty it took me a little while to realize how pretentious it was. It’s only 90 minutes long so we stuck it out, but it didn’t get any better. Needlessly confusing, needlessly arty, and quite boring. Don’t waste your time.