From deep within the Chinese industrial heartland comes an absolute triumph for Asia’s indie cinema scene. The Piano In A Factory is 2010 Chinese film that proves that director and writer Zhang Meng is without a doubt the Wes Anderson of Asian cinema. Starring Wang Qian-Yuan and Qin Hailu in career-defining roles, the film is nothing short of a masterpiece. The story is one of a divorced father whose manipulative and miserly ex-wife is about to remarry a rich man and wants full custody of their only daughter.
The film is endearing. heartfelt, and sincere. The aesthetic is breathtaking and clearly demonstrates the painstaking steps taken by the director and the cinematographer to create a film that stands out. Every shot is fashionably chic and utterly purposeful. While the acting is superb the soundtrack is a star attraction on its own. The band plays a myriad of music from tango and flamenco to old Soviet Red Army Choir classics. Even within the realm of Chinese music the film is diverse including a range from the Shanghai lounge music of colonial China to the Communist Party’s favourite Workers’ Anthems. The film is a magnanimous and glorious love letter about hopefulness and optimism. I will offer no spoilers only encouragement to watch the film that won Best Artistic Exploration at the 18th Beijing University Student Film Festival and was nominated for Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director at the 14th Shanghai International Film Festival. I will, however, point out that surrealist aura and well-framed scenes provide the film with personality and charming audacity.
I found The Piano In A Factory to be a heartwarming delight. The kind of film that as you watch you the unusual gang of characters who are universally supportive of each other, you feel like a family and you feel included in their lives and adventures. The film is enchanting and engrossing. Enthralling music, wild adventures (a snail-pace piano robbery), choreographed surreality, likeable characters, and stunning cinematography all make this film a gem. Even the film’s colour palette is unique and creates a magnificent juxtaposition of colour, story, and music. Everyone should see this film but it is a must-see for piano-lovers, cinephiles and Wes Anderson fans.