Bai She: Yuan Qi [White Snake] (2019)

Bai She: Yuan Qi
Director: Amp Wong, Ji Zhao
Writer: Damao
Cast: Zhe Zhang, Tianxiang Yang, Xiaopu Zheng, Wei Liu, He Zhang, Boheng Zhang, Yaohan Zhang, Xiaoxi Tang
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2019
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Plot:
Xiao Bai (Zhe Zhang) is a snake spirit who loses her memory in a battle. Fate brings her to A Xuan (Tianxiang Yang) who happens to be a snake hunter. Contrary to his entire village, though, A Xuan is very reluctant about the hunt itself and only takes part in it because Guo Shi (Yaohan Zhang) who rules the area demands a snake tax. Before A Xuan and Xiao Bai can figure much out, Guo Shi’s man take over A Xuan’s village and they find themselves on the run with Xiao Bai’s sister Xiao Qing (Xiaoxi Tang) fast on their heels and the Guo Shi’s not far behind either.

White Snake is a stunningly gorgeous film that has a nice sense of humor and a sweet love story. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The film poster showing A Xuan (Tianxiang Yang) and his dog Dudou (He Zhang) facing Xiao Bai (Zhe Zhang) in her snake form.

White Snake is based on a Chinese folk tale that I am not familiar with. Nevertheless, there was a certain familiarity to the story – a familiarity that is typical for old stories, no matter where they come from. I don’t want to sound metaphysical, but they have kind of seeped into the global subconscious. White Snake taps into that, but still manages to feel fresh and to give me some unexpected turns in the story (like the utter lack of doubt of the lovers in each other: they are absolutely certain of each other’s love at all times).

And I have to say that I absolutely loved the literally two-faced fox demon (Xiaopu Zheng). If the entire film had consisted of her making deals with her customers, I would have still loved it all. She is fantastic. Although it would have been a pity, of course, if I had missed the sad and sweet love story the film tells, always including a fine sense of humor.

The fox demon in her shop.

While all of this is good already, I think the best part of the film was the animation and generally, the visuals of the film. I liked the style in general, but there are many moments in the film where it is simply breathtakingly beautiful.

While I often struggle with the length of East-Asian films and find myself wishing for them to be shorter, this definitely wasn’t the case with White Snake. Quite to the contrary: I was completely entranced by the film and probably would have enjoyed it if it had been longer.

Xiao Bai (Zhe Zhang) with A Xuan (Tianxiang Yang) and his dog Dudou (He Zhang) on his boat.

Summarizing: Wonderful.

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