PRINT November 2000


Suzhou River

I have it on good authority that mermaids don’t exist in China, yet Lou Ye captured one from the depths of Shanghai’s unclean waterways In his second film, Suzhou River, which made its US debut at New Directors/New Films in March and opens this month at New York’s Film Forum. The mermaid in Lou's film is a slippery apparition, the coy ghost of a suicide who swims half-naked in a seedy nightclub floor-show, and her presence intimates that this gritty film, like the man-made river it's named after, is rife with impurities. Suzhou River is a story of love and betrayal, a posthuman noir told by a down-and-out videographer, and the entire narrative is seen through the lens of his camera. When I asked Lou how he had arrived at this first-person technique, the thirty-five-year-old director responded, “I tried to put myself in the story. But in any case, when you tell another person's tale you

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW at the discounted rate of $45 a year—70% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the November 2000 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.