Neil Young’s Film Lounge – Green Hat



Lu Mao Tze : China (Hong Kong) 2003 : LIU Fendou : 110 mins

Gave up on this one around the hour point I’m afraid. The first section is reasonably energetic and engaging, introducing a trio of small-time crooks who dream of escaping to the USA. They then get involved in a disastrous hold-up at a convenience store that degenerates into a Dog Day Afternoon type standoff. But when the main crook blows his own brains out, the focus shifts to the cop in charge of the operation. Like the criminal, he has severe woman trouble: both are cuckolds, which in China is supposedly referred to as “wearing the green hat.” The taciturn gloomster also has to cope with erectile dysfunction.

shallow end - The Green HatInevitably, the raucous pace of the early stretches isn’t maintained when the cop takes centre stage, Fendou opting to clog up the soundtrack with much melancholy tinkly piano. But the picture becomes distractingly stilted, and slows down to such a degree that I thought the celluloid was about to sludgify in the projector.

It had been a long day of numerous movies, it was late, the cinema was warm, I could feel my eyelids drooping, I wanted to get the bus back to my hotel. I know this film has had mostly very positive reviews, and Liu is reckoned to be a name to watch – not least by Liu himself, who has the Tarantino-esque chutzpah to announce The Green Hat as “the first film by Liu Fendou.” On the evidence of what I saw, I’m not going to go out of my way to seek the second.

16th September, 2004
(seen 25th August [walkout] : UGC Edinburgh : public show – Edinburgh Film Festival)

click HERE for our full coverage of the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival

by Neil Young