Christopher Shea, our correspondent at the Berlin Festival,
a.k.a Berlinale 2013, files this report.
Set in World War II-era Foshan and Hong Kong, The Grandmaster traces the rise and fall
of Kung Fu master Ip Man. The movie is gorgeous, strange and
stylized, bouncing between tea houses and brothels and beaches and back alleys,
all with operatic sweep.
After only three films, Rian Johnson has established himself
as a rising auteur. "Brick" (2006) raised some eyebrows with its crafty
combination of high school movie and film noir. "The Brothers Bloom" (2009) dazzled
many but disappointed some with its non-stop convoluting of the caper film. But the movie that truly
establishes him is his latest, "Looper."
It's not a good idea to watch a screening of "Looper" at 9 am your first day at the Toronto International Film Festival. At least if you haven't had any coffee yet. Not to keep you awake, but to keep you alert. It takes some concentration to follow a plot where flashbacks are flash-forwards and vice versa and both. And sometimes flash-sideways.