To the accompaniment of a cheerful Chinese tune, a man falls from an apartment block in the opening scene. His face smashes upon the camera, turning the image blood red. Above his head, a drone appears. "Life consists of falling down and standing up", a mechanical voice says. "It is wrong to commit suicide. There’s no problem so great it can’t be solved. We always must stay positive." What follows is equally dizzying; in three non-chronological parts spanning decades, Ho Wi Ding shows what (and which women) led the tragic protagonist to his desperate deed.
Cities of Last Things, Ho's first Chinese film – his debut Pinoy Sunday (2009) also screened at IFFR – was filmed by French cameraman Jean-Louis Vialard on surplus 35mm Fuji film stock. The colours of this dystopian world, where government control is massive, splash from the screen; the editing is brutal, the tone deceptively light. Awarded at Toronto Film Festival.