This small-scale Chinese documentary by Yang Lina is an intimate look at relationships and while it is culturally specific in some ways, the unexpected emotional drama that unfolds is universal. Lao An is a slightly rumpled but charming eighty-nine-year-old Chinese man. He loves to dance at the neighbourhood park, where locals crank up a big speaker and spend hours doing the latest ballrooms dancing moves. It was at the park that he met Xiao Wei, a woman in her early fifties, unglamorous but with a grand appreciation of the possibilities of life.
When the film begins it isn’t clear whether they are just friends or romantically involved, but later they do open up about their emotions and it is clear that their love is what keeps them going through the difficulties of life. Both are married and both spouses are aware of the relationship. What is not said echoes loudly through the film. Lao and his wife are very unhappy together but feel they are too old to make any real changes to their lives. Lao is clearly giving money to his companion but neither mention what place this money really has in their relationship. While Lao is on one of his many stints in the hospital, tragedy strikes but no one will tell him the truth about where Xiao Wei has gone.
The Love of Mr An is a small powerful film and while it makes no grand pronouncements about life it is most profound. It plays Mon, Sep 29th at Noon and Wed, Oct 8th at Noon, all at the Granville 7 Cinema.