Saturday, 18 October 2014

LFF REVIEW - THE FURTHEST END AWAITS (CHIANG HSIU CHIUNG)


The adult characters in Chiang Hsiu Chiung's exquisitely sensitive drama The Furthest End Awaits each experience the lure of memory, of familiarity, of an existence that has passed, abandoning them in a space from which they have not. It is when one runs from one's future that the real damage is done, but when one accepts the need to move forward - but with patience, always - that damage can be repaired. The Furthest End Awaits has the trappings of a gentle 'slice-of-life' drama, simple, uncomplicated, observant and non-judgemental. Those are valuable qualities for most films to possess; Chiang appreciates their true value by applying them to a concept that only gradually, with the same patience she admires in her characters, becomes apparent. The film formates positive, optimistic methods of adjustment to the complexities of pursuing a practical existence - in Japan, where it is particularly pertinent to feel rooted in both past and future, given its rich heritage and its lust for development in a great many regards. Old rituals and new technologies combine, and bridge gaps, heal discord, when their masters are of pure intention. Chiang's presentation is plain, her content clear, a vast reverence for the beauty of the natural world and all of the life therein showing in her careful attentiveness, her respect for the delicate textures and thin materials so prevalent on this narrow strip of islands, facing a gigantic ocean on one side and a gigantic continent on the other. She finds inroads to the deepest depths of her characters' souls, unveiling the benevolent, sincere desires that lie beneath all the unnecessary concerns of life. Their preoccupation with revisiting and returning becomes cleansed, a gracious comprehension of the healthier requirement of looking ahead replacing it. Families that have been broken or lost, its members left as isolated as they are at this rural tip, this furthest end, are re-found, bonds re-made, and harmony restored. This is a hugely spiritual, beautiful film.