Lost Child 尋人奇事
2012, colour, 2.35:1, 88 mins
Directed by Kang Zhenghao (康正昊)
By Derek Elley
Wed, 27 June 2012, 23:40 PM (HKT)
Over-stretched but interesting curio on alienated Beijing youth by a young newcomer. Asian events.
Beijing, the present day. Twentysomething Zhang Xiaolei (Kang Zhenghao) ran away from home as a boy 12 years ago after being beaten by his father (Sun Haiying) for not studying. After finding him in a village, his father then spoiled him, but Xiaolei turned into a loner and street brawler who doesn't get on with his married elder sister, Xiaoyun (Yu Nan), a lawyer. He spends his time practising boxing and fighting. One day, Zeng Yuan (Li Jiahao), a young man from Guangdong, visits Xiaolei's father with some surprising news. When Xiaolei is arrested for gang violence, his father visits him and asks Xiaoyun to help him with the case.
Though it's more a mood curio than than a developed drama, Lost Child 尋人奇事 is an interesting calling card by young first-time director KANG Zhenghao 康正昊, an Inner Mongolia-born, Beijing-based film buff who was previously involved in the financing of low-budget horror movie Lost in Panic Room 密室之不可告人 (2010) and the comedy House Mania 房不剩防 (2011). Pretty much a one-man show by the 24-year-old Kang, who produced, wrote, directed, starred in and edited the movie, it's given credibility by a strong cast led by veteran SUN Haiying 孫海英 (Shanghai Women 假裝沒感覺 (2001), Sunflower 向日葵 (2005)) and younger actress YU Nan 余男 (Tuya's Marriage 圖雅的婚事 (2006), Wind Blast 西風烈 (2010)).
The first 20 minutes is more like an abstract emotional collage, with the young and alienated Zhang Xiaolei spending his time fighting in deserted buildings and walking alone through Beijing's back alleys. When a plot of sorts swims into focus — focused on Xiaolei's relationship with his father, who first drove him away from home and now spoils him — it's largely dependant on a clever twist. Kang is okay as the moody brat, though there's little detail to his character beneath the surface; Yu does a lot with an underwritten role, as his elder sister who has little time for him. The film's heart lies more in Sun's relaxed performance, as the father who's still trying to atone for a mistake he made years ago.
Cleanly shot in wintry Beijing by ZHANG Qingping 張慶平, Lost Child would work equally well at half its length, or one hour maximum. But it's well enough made on a technical level, and sufficiently different from the usual navel-gazing indie stuff, to keep an eye out for what Kang does next. The Chinese title roughly means The Wonder of Searching for Someone, and is a wordplay on the phrases for "missing person" or "missing person announcement".
ContactSales: Hao Xing Zheng He International Culture Media, Beijing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Premiere: Shanghai Film Festival (New Chinese Films), 22 Jun 2012. Theatrical release: TBC.
Presented by Hao Xing Zheng He International Culture Media (CN), in association with Xin You Xi Yue (Beijing) Culture Communication, Jiangsu Xing Hai Film & TV Culture Development. Executive producer: Kang Zhenghao. Producer: Kang Zhenghao.
Script: Kang Zhenghao. Photography: Zhang Qingping. Editing: Kang Zhenghao. Art direction: Pang Chao. Music: Chang Shilei. Costumes: Wang Liu. Sound: Zheng Yi. Action: Fan Wanlong. Executive director: Xie Yihang.
Cast: Kang Zhenghao (Zhang Xiaolei), Sun Haiying (Zhang, his father), Yu Nan (Zhang Xiaoyun, his elder sister), Lei Kesheng (Wang, Zhang's elderly neighbour), Yang Lixin (judge), Ma Shuliang (Liu), Gai Ke (Mrs. Wang), Sunny Dai (Jia, the lawyer), Zhang Chao (Liu Wu, Xiaoyun's husband), Li Jiahao (Zeng Yuan).