Xian shi shi guo qu de wei lai

Huang Weikai / China / 2009 / 58 min / Mandarin with English subtitles / black & white / digital


You can call it a Chinese city symphony. You can call it “one of the most mesmerizing films I’ve seen in ages,” as Hua Hsu wrote in The Atlantic. But none of that gets to the sheer poetic force of how director Huang Weikai has assembled images and sounds of a city at a boiling point This is no city symphony, but a city cacophony: men collapsing in the streets, pigs running loose, murky water flooding to the knees, and an ominous blimp floating above like a dead fish in an aquarium. The chaos builds to the point of no return. Disorder turns to dehumanization.

But DISORDER isn’t just urban violence. It’s also an artful invective on a world spinning out of control. The film’s Chinese title (“Now is the future of the past”) gets to the odd sense of time and history coming to a head and exploding. The film is shot on digital yet looks like grainy 16mm. It’s the pre-industrial meeting the post-apocalypse. It’s Sidney Lumet reporting from the future. China is on the brink of implosion and humanity is put to the test. The streets are alive with the absurd. –Brian Hu


  • Director: Huang Weikai
  • Producer: Li Jiuchu
  • Editor: Huang Weikai


October 27, 2011 5:20 pm
Mission Valley UltraStar Cinemas