Art As It Is Meant To Be: Io Sono Li

Tao Zhao as Shun Li in “Shun Li and the Poet”

Sometimes you come across a piece of art that is exactly what it supposed to be like. An experience that doesn’t leave you alone for quite some time. Watching ‘Io Sono Li‘ is such an experience.
(Don’t worry, no spoilers involved.)
After five days of loud music and cheering as my city has been taken over by partying youngsters and military and other people who walk fifty or so kilometers a day for four days in a row in order to get a small token to remember it by (Nijmeegse Vierdaagse), I needed to flee the heat and noise. So I went to the cinema. Specifically, I went to see a film that just came out, an Italian ‘art-house’ production.
It is amazing how chlichés can be avoided by showing things for what they are, not making them into whatever you hope to show your audience. To let the images speak for themselves. Some reviewers said the actors were very well chosen, as if the part was made especially for them. But I think that is a superficial way of looking at it. When actors play their part, it is up to the viewer (and thus up to the director) to look at their emotions and the thoughts that speak through their eyes. Not getting too much involved creates so much beauty!
Of course there are a large amount of social issues that are part of contemporary society that forms the structure of the film. But I say structure, not the content. The content is independent of the surrounding, which is what makes this film so extraordinary: the viewer can relate to it especially because it shows something human, and not some bigger picture. Art is not used to ‘fix’ a problem or to create a discourse.
Art as it is meant, to look at the world once more, differently.

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