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Kaili Blues(路边野餐)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

China · 2016
1h 53m
Director Bi Gan
Starring Chen Yongzhong, Guo Yue, Linyan Liu, Feiyang Luo
Genre Drama, Mystery

Wanting to fulfill his mother’s wish, Chen, a doctor at a small city clinic, sets off on a journey to look for his brother’s abandoned child. Along the way, he stumbles upon a town where the past, present, and future bleed together in a surreal world of blurred memories.

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What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


Slant Magazine by

Bi Gan's film is a soulful depiction of China's increasingly rapid pace of cultural and economic transformation.


New York Post by Farran Smith Nehme

Kaili Blues has the kitchen-sink feel of a new director eager to try every art-film technique in the book, but the film’s beauty and inventiveness are riveting.


The A.V. Club by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

Bi is a poet as well as a filmmaker, and some of his verse is in the film. He treats almost every shot as an opportunity to further develop the movie’s plainspoken lyrical vocabulary, in which disco balls and side-view mirrors take on metaphorical significance and water stands in for time.


The Hollywood Reporter by John DeFore

Dreamy, poetry-filled and prone to veering off on tangents, the picture teases viewers with such self-assurance it's difficult to believe the twentysomething director is a first-timer.


Los Angeles Times by Justin Chang

Showing an unobtrusive mastery of camera movement, Bi lends concrete form and rich dramatic life to the Buddhist notion that past, present and future are all equally untenable.


The New York Times by Ken Jaworowski

As lovely as the movie is to look at (and the final scene is exceptionally wonderful), it’s too oblique to concentrate its energies and sharpen its focus.


Village Voice by Michael Nordine

First-time writer-director Bi Gan and cinematographer Wang Tianxing infuse the imagery with a feeling at once otherworldly and familiar — the kind of thing you can't put a name to but would swear you've already experienced.


The Film Stage by Michael Snydel

Bi’s Kaili Blues is a bit too formless to hold together, even despite its immense merits and deep thematic resonance. Still: in one film, he’s already demonstrated himself to be an extraordinary visual stylist who’s not afraid to color outside the formalist lines.


Variety by Nick Schager

Led by performances imbued with barely concealed sorrow, regret and longing to come to terms with that which has been lost, Kaili Blues affords a view of people, and a nation, caught in between a haunting yesterday and — as implied by the film’s conclusion — a hopeful tomorrow.


Boston Globe by Peter Keough

Bi’s singular vision bears comparison to those of other geniuses such as Tarkovsky, Sokurov, David Lynch, Luis Buñuel and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Like those auteurs, he achieves what film is best at but seldom accomplishes — a stirring of a deeper consciousness, a glimpse into a reality transcending the everyday.

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