Fifth about The Seventh

Legend of the Demon Cat (Yāo Māo Zhuàn / Kuukai)

Legend of the Demon Cat: it’s hard for a story that mixes aspects of so many different genres, such as the one Chen Kaige is telling here, not to feel a bit disjointed at times; elements of the plot don’t make much sense or are just ill-explained. That said, the film eventually gets melancholically romantic and emotionally engaging. It is visually luxuriant (the production design of Lu Wei and Tu Nan is particularly impressive, and Chen Tongxun’s costume design is close behind), all beautifully captured by the lively and smoothly dynamic camerawork of cinematographer Cao Yu. The exception is the special effects, which look cheesy; even though it probably was a technical limitation rather than a choice, it still is not a bad match to the story. Acting is fine: Shôta Sometani (who projects nicely his character’s serene intelligence) and Huang Xuan form a good central duo and have good screen chemistry; Zhang Yuqi and Sandrine Pinna both have great screen presence and ethereal, eerie beauties, essential to sell the story.

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