LOCO 2013: UFO In Her Eyes
Nicely shot post-Mao satire isn't anything new, but hits some good notes.
When peasant girl Kwok Yun claims she saw a UFO over the small mountain town of Three-Headed-Bird Village it throws the town into the chaos of globalisation.
Told from the point of view of a Beijing police officer sent to investigate the supposed sighting, UFO In Her Eyes is a satirical vision of post-Mao China. The film is split between black and white shots of the bureaucrat conducting interviews with villagers and long, panning visions of the surrounding land and the effect the sudden fame has had upon the town.
The effects on the little town are instantaneous, word quickly spreads and what had been a quiet farming committee is soon a UFO-based tourist attraction. The initially well-meaning people of Three-Headed-Bird village are soon indoctrinated with thoughts of evil capitalism and the children’s minds are filled with ‘filth’ as they are advised to read Miller’s Tropic Of Cancer by their headteacher. It’s a fable about the woes of the new world, how the traditions of China could become warped and eventually lost as Western ideas poison the land. The supposed landing site brings people, who require entertainment and accommodation. Farmland is used up to make room for a golf course and hotel. Local businesses are shut down by new measures of bureaucracy. Kwok Yun rises as a ‘model peasant’, working reduced hours while not really understanding exactly what it is she is supposed to have done.
While the film is beautifully shot, the adaption from Ms. Guo’s book doesn’t feel completely realised. At times things don’t flow as well as they should, or don’t follow in a linear fashion despite the story’s intentions. While it is a poignant look at how tradition quickly gives way under the pressure of financial investment and fame it feels as though the story has been told better before, elsewhere, and with less slaughter of pigs.