Virgin Blue

Reviewed by Vaughan Ames

Last weekend was given over to the Alhambra’s Mint Chinese Festival, which was amazing; the cinema was full of Chinese students watching, with us from Keswick, a very varied array of Chinese films, from a 1927 silent movie, through a Chinese 'Woody Allen-like' drama, to a fantastic three-hour history of 20th century China told through the eyes of a dead clown! Our film, 'Virgin Blue' was possibly the hardest to understand, definitely one of the most 'arthouse'.

Inspired by the now famous Thai director Weerasethakul, it took us into the past, present and future… all at the same time. We followed Yezi, a student, back to her grandmother's house where both women's dreams were full of the past and sometimes the future, and where those memories and thoughts became real, both to them and to us: so her grandfather would appear on the settee next to her, her mother would be sharing a meal at the table. To make this all even weirder (!), the dream sequences were full of song and dance...oh, and bears... and sometimes the film crew could be seen talking to the cast, grounding it very much in the present...

All of this definitely split the audience between those who loved it and those who… didn't. I was unsure what I would think, but, in the event, found it totally gripping. I do not think there really was a plot, what was important was the value of memories and ideas of the future. If you could roll with that flow, the movie was very beautiful!