The Calming (Song Fang, 2020)
Date: October 23, 2022
Location: 2220 Arts + Archives
Address: 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Los Angeles premiere!
A film of arresting beauty and tranquility, the second feature from Song Fang—whose Memories Look at Me was a work of graceful autobiography—follows a young film director as she makes her way around Japan, China, and Hong Kong after a relationship breakup: presenting her work, engaging with friends and artists, and dealing with the realities of aging parents. Amidst all of this, Lin (an effortlessly inquisitive Qi Xi) takes in both lush nature and imposing cityscapes, a woman both alone and constantly engaged in the ever-shifting environment around her. Song’s film refuses to impose psychological motivation on Lin’s perambulations or her art, instead allowing the viewer to experience the world’s disappointments and felicities along with her, and perhaps bear witness to creative rejuvenation. Official Selection: Berlinale, San Sebastián, NYFF, Viennale.
[A] breath of fresh air.
David Ehrlich, Indiewire
A serene, gentle, and faintly sorrowful film... nearly every image and cut is weighed just so.
Daniel Kasman, MUBI Notebook
Buried within The Calming is an observation, if not a Jia-style critique, of how modern atomization ruptures a sense of community.
Courtney Duckworth, Cinema Scope
A film about a rebirth, a re-centering, the recreation of the self that must come after a life-changing event. Rarely has a film made me more jealous.
Sean Gillman, In Review Online
This dialectic of movement through stillness—of the work of rest—is at the heart of The Calming, which captures its heroine in drift between projects, cities, apartments, relationships.
Devika Girish, Reverse Shot