Social outcasts trying to find their place in life happen to meet each other. At times by pure coincidences, sometimes connecting over sexuality or over a lost item.
For the first time ever on DVD comes Mao Mao's debut feature. Mao Mao's debut draws influences from some of the top names in arthouse cinema in an attempt to depict a careful and personal look into the lives of several complete strangers. A very slow study, and one that requires you to be in just the right mood before getting into. If you're not then no doubt this will be too little too late - I know this because I attempted to watch it when I wasn't really in the mood. I had to try again at another time and found it a lot easier to sit down with, though it's still rather intentionally empty.
"Here, Then" highlights a number of people in China without a connection to each other - or really anyone at all. They attempt to find themselves in modern music, in the society they live in, in sexuality, through the phone. These random strangers manage to find each other one way or another. What follows is a journey of thought and mindfulness in a painstaking and slow manner.
It's hard to bring out any specific scenes in "Here, Then", but one that seems to have caught the attention of everyone who has seen this movie. There's a reason for it. It's as if the scene brings down the entire movie, showing it more clearly than any other parts put together does, what the director tried to show. The scene depicts two young girls on a street dancing along to some music that's playing nearby, and the camera is soon met by the stare of one of the girls and begins to zoom in. The more it zooms in on her face, the more distorted the music gets and the louder the bass gets. It's a scene which started out pretty silly in their innocent dance, but quickly proves more than almost the rest of the movie managed to.
That's a flaw with the movie at times. It only have a number of scenes that seem to get down to the bottom of what Mao Mao wanted to say. The overall movie does a fine job at it, I won't lie, but many separate scenes seem just as lost as the characters shown. Perhaps this was the point? Meanwhile certain scenes hit you just the right way.
Many scenes, especially the one above, were technically impressive. It's a debut feature, and sometimes you wonder how some filmmakers just seem to get it on their first try. Sure, it's not one to battle against the greats, but the cinematography and acting are both really fluent, real and achieved without hiccups. The movie wouldn't have worked without this at all, because it's basically all its got.
Don't go into "Here, Then" to get a strict narrative or even much of a story. If you want to get yourself into deeper thoughts about yourself and the life around you, then "Here, Then" might have something for you. It's a hard movie to sit through if you're not in the mood, and I don't want anyone to be forced through this. I tried and it was really hard, but once I sat down with the right mindset I got to enjoy it for whatever I could find in it. It's just hard to pinpoint what that thing was.