“An engaging depiction of small town ennui … with [an] eye for the picturesque and a psychological complexity its austere appearance belies.” – The Hollywood Reporter
A rising exponent of the slow-cinema movement, Yang Heng is known for his exquisite, painterly long shots and his devotion to minimalist storytelling. His third feature Lake August (following his FIPRESCI Prize-winning debut Betelnut and 2009 follow-up Sun Spots) solidifies his reputation, eking layers of meaning out of the simplest scenes.
Left isolated by his father’s suicide and girlfriend’s betrayal, the indolent Ah Li leaves the city to seek diversion at a rural lake house. Meeting up with an old school friend and his mistress, he drifts through a series of prosaic encounters, slouching toward a moment that will ultimately change the course of his life.
Masterfully etched against cinematographer Wang Wei’s richly detailed vistas, Lake August evokes the tranquil languidness of summer, conjuring an unhurried side of China rarely seen onscreen. A stunning cinematic adagio of youthful indifference and everyday minutiae, it is an immersive, emotionally complex work of art.