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Most of us have taken a photo with our smartphone, slapped a lens on it with a few effects…maybe tweaked the color and brightness a bit. We’re rewarded with a pleasing photo but that doesn’t make it art. Of course, the definition of art itself evolves and is somewhat subject to the recipient. Cinema is perfectly correlated to this example. Many of today’s films are visually pleasing, entertaining, and illicit a response but this may be more a result of classical conditioning than real innovation and impact. The status quo may be artistic but rarely possesses a unique voice. The tip of the spear in film, as in most creative endeavors, is wielded by those who take big chances with their talent. The Moon Also Rises ideally displays this very premise. Yao Yu (writer/director) exhibits true vision in this 2018 film. There is an inverse correlation in the film’s running time (at a curt seven minutes) and it’s striking nature.

The dichotomy of this comedy/drama comes across effortlessly in the course of the film. This is the nature of real life but we have collectively come to expect a division between these genres as an audience. The Moon Also Rises is the slowly degrading reality of a young actress named Jasmine. She’s an exceptional actress, particularly good at self-directed monologue. Jasmine witnesses a man (her mother’s lover) exiting the family’s home one day and is upset about this. The experience sets off a course of events which result in the disappearance of prominent people in Jasmine’s life. With only minute clues as evidence that these individuals every truly existed, the actress begins to doubt the world around her and her own state of mind. As the story progresses, we see reality and imagination blurred until they eventually abandon Jasmine.

The psychological and emotional complexity of Jasmine’s journey is immense. The interwoven amusement and gravitas makes watching the movie more experiential than simply entertaining. The plot is exceptional and the characters are distinct. As with all great stories, The Moon Also Rises is one which relates to all of humanity rather simply those found in this story. The look of this film plays with the audience’s own sense of immersion in the action with differing images in the proportion of the frame (likely achieved in the cross editing process). The viewer begins to subtly question how things “should” appear and how they are presented. The Moon Also Rises, most accurately described as Abstract and Avant-Garde, was recognized for its forward approach; leading to its inclusion in the prestigious Cannes Short Film Corner during May of this year.

The Moon Also Rises director Yao Yu and editor Aija Li

Creating a production so uncommon as this requires an unorthodox style and approach. Yao Yu sought out and enlisted lauded editor Aijia Li (who also served as colorist and sound designer for the film) to complement, and sometimes challenge her aims. Aijia reveals, “Yao YU is a pure artist and as such, has different thinking patterns and perspectives from most other people. It’s what makes them special but goes hand in hand with the need for more communication. Imagine if you’d never seen a helicopter and someone was describing a way for you to build one. The ideas she came up with would sometimes scare me and other times made me laugh out of surprise. The film needs a lot of re-creating work in editing. It was a challenge and a reaffirming experience.”

Experimental and edgy films such as The Moon Also Rises won’t break box office records. In fact, the vast majority of the public may not even see them; but the effect they have on the filmmaking community will bear fruit for decades to come. Unusual filmmakers of the past like John Waters, Quentin Tarantino, Yorgos Lanthimos, and George Lucas were once underdogs who made films that rejected the accepted style of the day. The crew of The Moon Also Rises comprises the next incarnation of these pioneers.

Author Kelly King

WITH GREAT CREATIVITY: THE MOON ALSO RISES Reviewed by JaamZIN on 8:39:00 PM Rating: 5
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