‘Kaili Blues,’ an innovative work from China, makes its L.A. premiere

“Kaili Blues”
Guo Yue, right, in Bi Gan’s film “Kaili Blues.”
(Grasshopper Film)

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more formally innovative film screening in a Los Angeles theater this weekend than “Kaili Blues,” a melancholy tale of loss and regret that marks a singular feature debut for the Chinese director Bi Gan.

Ostensibly the story of a middle-aged doctor and ex-con searching for his young nephew, the film offers up a dreamlike elegy for bygone Chinese traditions and then proceeds, poetically and intuitively, into an astonishing experiment in cinematic time and space. 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.

Currently sans L.A. theatrical distribution, “Kaili Blues” is the first of five films being presented jointly by Acropolis Cinema, a screening series founded and curated by the critic Jordan Cronk, and Grasshopper Film, a new distribution company founded by Ryan Krivoshey. Their other upcoming presentations this summer and fall include Hong Sang-soo’s “Right Now, Wrong Then,” José Luis Guerín’s “The Academy of Muses” and Lav Diaz’s “Storm Children, Book One.”



‘Kaili Blues’

Where: Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Los Angeles

When: Friday, June 3, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $12



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