View Poll Results: Namiya (Han Jie)

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Thread: Namiya (Han Jie)

  1. #1
    White Tiger Field Stay Puft's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
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    Namiya (Han Jie)

    NAMIYA
    Dir. Han Jie



    IMDb page
    Giving up in 2020. Who cares.

    Night on Earth (Jim Jarmusch) ***
    Ashes (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) **
    Atlantiques (Mati Diop) ***
    Exhalation (Edmund Yeo) *
    Inhalation (Edmund Yeo) *

  2. #2
    White Tiger Field Stay Puft's Avatar
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    This is a Chinese adaptation of the popular Japanese novel (there was also a Japanese adaptation released like two months earlier, but it hasn't been released over here) and features Jackie Chan as the owner of the titular general store. It's to Jackie's credit that even as a creaky old man, buried under old man makeup, and performing no martial arts whatsoever, I found his brief appearance vital and heartwarming. But I suppose I'm just that much of a diehard Jackie Chan fan, that I'm happy to see him pop up in any film, no matter how small the role.

    I like the basic setup for the film, and since I knew nothing about the source material, was surprised and thrilled by the focal shift it slowly makes, ultimately centering not around the general store itself but the fate of an orphanage and the impact it had on the many children who grew up there together. If the execution had been any good, Namiya could have been a nice little bit of magic realism, and a genuinely endearing melodrama. Alas, it's mediocre at best. The actual storytelling on display is largely terrible, no doubt partly due to the condensing of source material into a short running time (in and out in less than two hours), with various segments coming and going with little time to develop or breathe dramatically, so the sense of any one individual character is mostly shallow. It becomes a tearjerker that relies on cheap tricks instead of genuine character development. This is painfully obvious in the segment about a struggling artist and a young girl who later becomes a famous pop star, a segment that involves a tragedy followed by a time jump to an emotional musical performance that is filled with gut wrenching, black and white flashbacks to the tragedy we just watched literally less than five minutes ago. I just sat there gesturing at the screen, shaking my head, looking around incredulously. It's a haphazard, poorly constructed narrative, and it's a shame, because it squanders some potentially fun ideas. Also, I couldn't shake the weird feeling that the movie's final "message" from the general store doubles as nationalist propaganda. I'd really love to see the Japanese version now to see how much these versions differ (as I suspect they necessarily must, and significantly, given the cultural differences).
    Giving up in 2020. Who cares.

    Night on Earth (Jim Jarmusch) ***
    Ashes (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) **
    Atlantiques (Mati Diop) ***
    Exhalation (Edmund Yeo) *
    Inhalation (Edmund Yeo) *

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