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In a small clinic in the foggy and damp city of Kaili in exotic, subtropical Guizhou Province, two preoccupied doctors live ghost-like lives. One of them, Chen Sheng, decides to fulfill his dead mother’s wish and sets off on a train journey to look for his brother’s abandoned child. His partner in the clinic, a lonely old lady, asks Chen to take an old photograph, a shirt and a cassette to her old sweetheart, who is now very ill. On his way to Zhenyuan County, Chen passes a strange little town called Dangmai, where time is not linear and people’s lives complement each other. Here, Chen experiences the past, present and future and begins to reflect upon his life. When Chen eventually reaches Zhenyuan, he only watches his brother’s abandoned child with a pair of binoculars from a distance. He gives the old lady’s keepsake to her former sweetheart’s son and then gets back on the train to complete his return journey. It is difficult to tell whether this world is a product of our memory, or whether we are simply a daydream of this world...

 

"Time plays in an endless loop in “Kaili Blues,” forcing audiences to constantly revisit, and reassess, the past. For a rural Chinese doctor, facing bygone traumas is both a literal and figurative, fugue-enshrouded act, and one that’s recounted by debut writer-director Bi Gan with trance-like grace, as his film segues seamlessly between reality and memory. An entrancing off-kilter trip through both internal and exterior landscapes where the old is being torn down in favor of the new, this import heralds an assured new cinematic voice, even if its oblique nature portends meager domestic theatrical prospects."(Variety)