Film Review: Hello, Goodbye
“Hello, Goodbye” is a Chinese feature film, written and directed by Shi Xiang. The film tells the story of three strangers who walk into each other’s life by coincidence.
Using very little dialogue, the three leads Maojun Hua as Xiaohua, Jie Zhou as Xiaozhou, and Peiyu Dong as Ah Yu, give minimalistic performances that fit the film’s style and atmosphere. The only way we can learn about the characters is through their actions. The result is a courageous film that allows the viewers to interpret what they see themselves.
The way the stories connect was clever- the director lets us meet the characters and get to know their stories before the coincidental meetings. By the time they meet, we already feel connected to the characters.
Hello, Goodbye presents interesting visual storytelling. The cinematography by Zhao Shuo is mostly static (except some beautiful dolly shots), with long shots that let the actors tell the story themselves. Moreover, the decision to make the film in black & white makes the viewer not only focus on the story, but also to feel how timeless this story is.
Another element that Shi keeps on a minimum level is the score. The only music presented in the film is diegetic music- no score, no soundtrack. This decision is rare even in the indie film industry. Undoubtedly, Shi stays as far away as possible from the mainstream. He tells the story in his own way, with full confidence in his vision, and that is admirable.
About the director:
Born 1988 in Zhengzhou, China, Shi Xiang was very interested in Taiwanese New Wave films, which led to the writing of his own screenplays. After studying art in Radio and Film College of Chengdu University of Technology, he entered the Public Administration College of the Zhengzhou University of China, receiving his Masters degree in 2017. Shi did not pursue a PhD and instead directed his first long film Hello, Goodbye which recently won Best Indie Filmmaker at Festigious.