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Film Critique: Prairie Sisters (2022) directed by Wu Wei
Film Critique: Prairie Sisters (2022) directed by Wu Wei

Film Critique: Prairie Sisters (2022) directed by Wu Wei

“You resemble Chow Yun Fat.”

Young people who grow up in small communities often dream of leaving to seek better opportunities. However, making that dream a reality is not always simple. Some end up returning home, while others are unable to leave due to family obligations. The film “Wu Wei” delves into this idea through the story of two sisters living in a remote village in Mongolia.

Prairie Sisters CathayPlay

The two sisters mentioned are Naren and Saren Kim. Naren is responsible for household tasks and tending to the family’s sheep, while Saren works at a hair salon. Naren is the one who persuades Saren to attend an audition that could potentially change their lives in the city. Despite being hesitant, Saren stands out during the audition with her singing abilities, while Naren is quickly dismissed. The sisters are determined to stay together, so Saren uses her persuasive tactics to convince the committee to let Naren join as well. However, before they can go, they must first confront their mother who is not keen on letting them leave.

Wu Wei skillfully directs a highly enjoyable movie that effectively showcases the concept mentioned earlier while also delving into the complexities of the characters. Through a clever mix of comedy and drama, the short film begins in a humorous manner with entertaining interactions in a salon, followed by comedic yet dramatic auditions, and a heated conversation between a mother and her daughters at night. This particular scene is the focal point of the movie, portraying the clash between the dreams of the younger generation and the traditional beliefs of the older generation in a powerful and memorable way.

During the “fight” scene and the final showdown, a conversation between the mother and a family member present reveals that Wu Wei does not see anyone as the villain. The importance of family and how its members still care for each other despite their disagreements is effectively depicted.

At times, the acting may seem rigid, especially from Qilemuge as Saren and Sulengga as Naren. However, the aforementioned scene more than makes up for it, particularly due to Ailiya’s exceptional performance as the mother.

Jiang Alimu’s exceptional cinematography is a standout aspect of the film, particularly in the night scenes which are visually stunning. The interior scenes are also beautifully colored, resembling paintings, and the framing adds to the overall aesthetic. Wang Linping’s editing maintains a steady pace that complements the storytelling, giving Wu Wei ample time to present the story, characters, and commentary without feeling rushed, even in a lengthy runtime.

“The film ‘Prairie Sisters’ is highly engaging, with excellent direction and cinematography. It effectively captures both the dynamics of a family drama and offers commentary on a unique lifestyle.”