The Great Buddha+ Screen 5 articles

The Great Buddha+

2017

The Great Buddha+ Poster
  • It probably also deserves mention in terms of its unusual relationship to Taiwanese cinema, or at least Western audiences' concept of it. Huang's crystalline black-and-white cinematography works in keen counterpoint to the filth and misery filling the screen. In this regard, it recalls Jiang Wen's Devils on the Doorstep. But this is miles away from the slow-paced miserablism of, say, Tsai Ming-liang, which looks like a high-couture fashion shoot by comparison.

  • Huang interrupts the action at times to interject wisecracks on the soundtrack, and this device heightens the sense of bonhomie engendered by the two leads. The good cheer goes a long way in countering the knee-jerk cynicism, which grows tiresome well before the end.

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    Film Comment: Jordan Cronk
    November 03, 2017 | November/December 2017 Issue (p. 23)

    Humor, a perennial scarcity in the self-serious world of art-house cinema, is in pleasingly abundant supply in The Great Buddha+. From its opening voiceover, in which Huang himself unpacks the film's tangled co-production particulars and the social absurdities of the forthcoming narrative (to which he'll occasionally return "to share ideas and explain the story"), the film immediately establishes a plaufully reflexive tone, part and parcel with its narrative's digital-age machinations.

  • Sporting an ingeniously cinematic concept that’s nimbly executed by writer-director Huang Hsin-yao and producer-DP Chung Mong-hong, this ballad of sad losers mixed with satire on parochial politics is convulsively funny yet uncompromisingly bleak, bridging art with entertainment. {It's a]rguably the best film to emerge from a year of exciting resurgence in Taiwan, which hasn’t produced an independent film that addresses themes both local and global in some time.

  • Huang . . . punctuates the misadventures of Pickle and Belly Button with his own wry voiceover commentary, a device that is pushy at times, but which mostly works. However, it’s when Huang lets his scenes play out that the film is at its most enjoyable. An extended, polite duel of veiled criticism which could be used as part of training programs for diplomats exemplifies what Huang does best: sit back and take pleasure in humans being both ingenious and worthy of laughter.