Keswick Film Club - Reviews - The Crossing

Reviews - The Crossing

The Crossing

Reviewed By Stephen Pye

The Crossing
The Crossing
In our ever-transient, fracturing world, sweeping discussions about identity in the name of personal or political edification tend to overshadow subtle, often more profound ruminations about individualism—those elusive circumstances that drive our fears and desires and steer us through the minutiae of daily life into the unknown. But in 'The Crossing', the breathtaking debut feature by Bai Xue, the latter is perfectly distilled in the fulcrum of a girl who comes of age in between two shores divided by regional, national, and linguistic identities.

In the film, Peipei, played by the brilliant Huang Yao, a 16-year-old from a broken family in Shenzhen, mainland China, attends a school for well-heeled teenagers on the other side of the bay in Hong Kong. She needs money to vacation in Japan with her friend Jo (Carmen Soup). Before long, innocent intentions bait Peipei into working for an underground counterfeit iPhone ring that operates between the two borders by way of Jo's boyfriend Hao (Sunny Sun).

Bolstered by a sophisticated technical polish and audacious tonal shifts—from dynamic handheld shots in Hong Kong to mannered static compositions in Shenzhen—the film's construction reflects its protagonist's bifurcated existence in her external domains an emotional states; her divided family life and friendships; her traversal between upper and lower class, childhood and adulthood, and normal life and the criminal underground. Bai integrates thrilling heist genre elements into tender melodrama while brazenly showing the life-threatening physical dangers and moral quandaries faced by youth living in between worlds struggling to make a living. Peipei isn't an extraordinary character but through her search for purpose and belonging, the director unfolds complex, nuanced notions of what it means to be a young person living in the world today.

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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.

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