The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of eternity, the swashbuckling blockbuster lands on Netflix

The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of eternity, the swashbuckling blockbuster lands on Netflix
Unbelievable but true, the Chinese film market was the first to recover after the pandemic. For years now it has been competing with the US for world leadership in the sector. It seems, however, that since 2020 the Chinese cinemas have succeeded in ousting the American ones as the most profitable. While the Western world is still subject to a forced or contingent closure of screens, China seems to breathe a whole different air, not only due to the reopening of cinemas, but above all due to the considerable active presence of the public. One of the highest grossing titles of the season was The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity, the action fantasy written and directed by Guo Jingming that premiered at home on Christmas Day. From February 5th, the film is also available on the Netflix streaming platform which in fact has acquired the rights for international distribution.

Two opposite worlds

Based on a 2001 novel, Onmyoji, by the Japanese writer Baku Yumemakura, the film chronicles the exploits of the Yin-Yang Masters intent on the mission of solving a mysterious murder to avert a much greater threat. A terrible serpent demon has in fact awakened and is ready to threaten the whole of humanity. Initially conceived for a debut on foreign markets on Chinese New Year's Day (February 12, 2021), the film is effectively an operation that is largely immersed in Chinese culture and tradition, both humanistic and martial, finally passing through the clearly cinematic one.

The symbol of Yin and Yang is never shown explicitly but it is the focal point of the speech, starting with the title of course. The black and white that complement each other in a perfectly sinuous and balanced shape are often evoked by the clothes of the two protagonists: two very different but complementary "men" who, only when in full harmony, will achieve their purpose. This binomial is returned in all respects also by the dramaturgical and aesthetic form of the film, which constantly seeks to dialogue between the most contemporary present and a millenary tradition. Starting with the spectacular prologue, in fact, all the power of mainstream blockbuster cinema emerges with special effects that are unfortunately sacrificed to the small size of the computer or television screen.

Spells, flights of fancy, explosions and gigantic monsters are the real protagonists of the sequence. However, the wuxia layout between razor-sharp swords, elegant and sinuous choreography as much as the beautiful costumes worn by the characters is no exception. It seems that the prologue of the film is a kind of appetizer of what is to come. In fact, Guo Jingming works so that the whole film can restore this double soul, black and white, the past and the present, digital and artisanal cinema, tradition and the present. The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity is just about a dream of eternity (as it is screamed in the title). To reach eternity, you have to deal with collective memory, the only weapon capable of defeating the oblivion of time. This is why the film wants to try to place itself between two distant worlds but only in the embrace and union of these two opposites can a firm and conscious embrace be realized.

It is also interesting to note that beyond of these pairs of opposing elements present within the story and in the details of the project, even the narrative structure seems to be perfectly divided and balanced. In fact, throughout the first part the film seems to want to follow the archetype of a chamber thriller (obviously resized). The protagonists will therefore have to shed light on a mysterious murder that took place within the "four walls" of a residential house capable of isolating the suspects from the outside world. Right now, the weight of tradition shows all its cumbersome weaknesses. A game of masks, of trust, of betrayal and lies, seems to want to give no respite to the characters who will be forced to calibrate their every move, any of their thoughts.

A journey through time

All the first part, except for some passages, is largely contained, at times minimalist. Its strength is based on the beauty of the sets and the elegance of the costumes. Guo Jingming seems to want to pay homage to the most acclaimed directors in the reference genre, winking at Ang Lee's The Tiger and the Dragon or Zhang Yimou's The Forest of Flying Daggers. The tradition of Chinese cinema thus returns to be the protagonist even in years in which the aesthetics of the international audiovisual product seems to be more oriented elsewhere.

The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity thus proposes a step back in time , within another era, another world. All the power and aesthetics of imperial China emerge in the individual details, reconstructed through a rigid and refined cinema that will then explode definitively in the second part. Here, Guo Jingming seems to want to spare no expense. All the strength and energy of the prologue are abundantly reinforced for a long and exhausting fighting sequence that has little to do with the swashbuckling genre, while it would seem closer to an Avengers-style system.

In conclusion

Objectively, The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity is not a simple vision. The film is aimed primarily at lovers of oriental cinema and more particularly those of the Chinese tradition. There is no shortage of spectacular action sequences and acrobatic choreographies masterfully interpreted, yet the slightly prohibitive duration (almost two and a quarter hours) and the implantation between mythology and technology could make most people turn up their noses. However, it is certainly an interesting operation above all to understand the dynamics of production and satisfaction of what today, we repeat, is the most important film market in the world. A (re) starting point to try to look to to wish us a quick resumption of activity even in the westernmost part of the globe.

Discover this film and many others in the ever-growing library available on Netflix

Powered by Blogger.