The Breaking Ice – first-look review

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Three young adults navigate nan intricacies of romance successful a snowy metropolis successful Northern China successful Anthony Chen's latest drama.

Singaporean director, Anthony Chen, is known for quality dramas that propulsion disconnected their humble communicative ambitions pinch heart-on-sleeve sincerity. His pandemic project, The Breaking Ice, is loyal to its title successful each way. It contains different iterations of crystal virtually breaking (a characteristic chomping connected crystal cubes, hacking up crystal blocks pinch tools, and ice-skating) arsenic good arsenic nan eventual catharsis of its metaphorical meaning arsenic stiff hearts thaw retired by nan occurrence of brief-yet-meaningful friendship.

In nan limbo onshore of Yanji, a wintry Chinese metropolis that borders connected Korea pinch a ample Korean population, 3 20 somethings pinch different demons are connected hiatuses from their lives. Haofeng (Liu Haoran), is an introverted financier from Shanghai who fantasises astir suicide. He has travel to Yanji for a wedding. Nana (Zhou Dongyu) is simply a charming but preoccupied circuit guideline who ushers Haofeng nether her helping aft he loses his telephone connected 1 of her tours. Xiao (Qu Chuxiao) is simply a section edifice worker pinch a crush connected Nana. He shows Herculean restraint erstwhile a unusual 3rd wheel, Haofeng, is invited connected a nighttime out.

This nighttime retired proves to beryllium very boozy, culminating successful nan usually cringy after-hours classical – personification pulling retired a guitar – that, successful this case, leads to an affectional reprieve. Haofeng oversleeps nan adjacent morning, missing his formation home. Nana suggests that he make a kindness of this snafu and invites him to enactment pinch her for nan adjacent fewer days.

Chen uses this contained clip play to representation retired naturalistically paced bonding pinch profound implications for each personnel of nan trio, utilizing nan edge-of-the-world remoteness of Yanji arsenic a dreamy icescape successful which fallen group tin refind their footing. Reward posters and news footage regularly study connected a fugitive from Korea who had taken to shoplifting to survive. He is an apocryphal presence, adding outer stakes that ne'er travel into focus.

As their boundaries mildly melt away, Nana and Haofeng bask saccharine intersexual healing, to a stoical consequence from Xiao. The movie comes into its ain erstwhile Chen leans into nan juiciest imaginable of its ambiguous threeway dynamic. This is Jules et Jim for nan seasonally depressed, afloat of affectional nooks and crannies that are excavated arsenic nan 3 actors fto nan push and propulsion betwixt what is communicable and what must beryllium suffered unsocial flicker crossed their faces.

Zhou Dongyu arsenic Nana is nan MVP, layering her capacity truthful that nan cheerful mistress-of-ceremonies beforehand abruptly runs retired and she lapses into brooding. Even successful this state, she is animated by a lively beingness intelligence that expresses itself successful caring gestures. For nan astir part, she rebuffs XIao pinch scathing wit, yet location comes a infinitesimal wherever she creates a caller genre of kiss: 1 that says “I’m sorry this doesn’t mean thing else.”

With Haofeng, arsenic he showers, she traces nan statement of his assemblage done nan curtain until their hands are rubbing done nan fabric. This is goodbye.

Published 22 May 2023

Tags: Anthony Chen

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