Free and easy
China. 2017. 90 min.
Cast: Xu Gang , Zhang Zhiyong
This film by chinese director Geng Jun is a sneaky and funny look at petty criminals in a small town in northern China. An old industrial city in northwest China, now deserted and covered in snow, is the picturesque backdrop of this absurd history. A soap seller arrives there, a crime happens, and from that moment on, they begin to appear absurd and strange characters who face each other with tragicomic results. Geng Jun shows an impressive domain of the formal elements of cinema and a talent for dealing with social problems from a hilarious point of view even though the underlying theme can be quite serious.
Born in 1976, is a Chinese independent filmmaker. His films have shown at festivals in China and internationally, such as Youth, which was entered at the 2009 Rome Film Festival, The Hammer and Sickle Are Sleeping (2016 Tromsø International Film Festival), and Free and Easy, which was entered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Geng Jung is an expert in using of offscreen space and has a predilection for symmetrical compositions. Artistic voices in China are subjected to horrendous amounts of government pressure and influence. At times this can be overwhelming to artists in China. As a result, political and social commentary must be expertly encrypted into the fabric of Chinese art. Nothing can be said directly and what may seem to be a somewhat random film about con-men in an impoverished city is, at its heart, an eloquent and important film. It is a silent scream for revolution and change set against the beautiful cinematic landscape of China.