Yang Fudong - One Half Of August

Another show I enjoyed this week was Yang Fudong at Parasol Unit, although happily this one is on for another month or so.
The film that I was most struck by was Fifth Night. Fifth Night is a seven screen video-installation filmed in an interpretation of Shanghai's old town and shot in mesmerising 35mm B&W film (I am always suspicious when the medium is so seductive, yet on this occasion it seemed well-suited to the content) and accompanied by a  bold and nostalgic film score, reminiscent of golden-age composers like Bernard Herrmann. In the square a stage has been erected and the central characters walk around as if in a daze while other characters are thrown out of a car with their suitcases; fix a tram; work as a blacksmith; sit static on a chair or sofa. The piece is enigmatic and intriguing. Several cameras film the characters from different angles, often seeming to be filming the same action simultaneously but on closer inspection the scenery or the supporting cast may be subtly different, creating a feeling of the uncanny.


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