Schemes in Antiques (古董局中局, 2021)

Schemes in Antiques (古董局中局, 2021)

Director: Derek Kwok

Cast: Jiayin Lei, Xian Li, Zhilei Xin, You Ge, Tao Guo, Mei Yong

Adapted from Ma Boyong’s novel of the same name, the film tells the story of a series of adventures that occurred when the descendants of the five veins made a wish to find out the truth about the Buddha head of Wu Zetian Mingtang in the Tang Dynasty. – IMDB

It’s always nice to have a film that delivers exactly what it says. Literally. Schemes in Antiques is exactly a plot revolving schemes in antiques. This Chinese film is a treasure hunt adventure which touches on a little bit of Chinese history and antiques. While the structure of the plot isn’t exactly novel, the approach using the Chinese antiques and following the characters to solve the puzzles to go to the next clue to find the elusive Buddha head that caused the main character’s family history to be tainted, leaving him in the undignified state that he lives in. There are secrets and twists and adventure plus a bit of family drama in the backstory that works well together.

Schemes in Antiques may seem like very straightforward just from its title alone and probably taking away a bit of the mystery itself. However, it has its own sort of fun elements. Its a plot which centers around a race to finding the truth behind this artifact that was supposed given to Japan but turns out to be fake. As two descendants go on this hunt, their different strengths lead them in different pacings on the trail. Both of these two characters have their own family legacies to fight for with the main character Xu Yuan having a much more direct motive: to find out the truth behind whether his ancestors did disgrace their family name.

The cast itself is pretty decent. The main character, Xu Yuan played by Jiayin Lei is pretty well-casted. While I haven’t seen this actor other than in variety shows, he does capture this role which floats between the constantly drunk electronic store owner with an exceptional antique knowledge living in the shadows of his disgraced family name from his grandfather and the neglect from his own father. However, his encounter with the daughter of one of the members of the antique society becomes an alliance that takes them for quite the dangerous adventure. In a film full of men, this character shines out played by Zhilei Xin who has her own motives to prove that a woman can also amount to purpose to break his father’s old-fashioned mindset. Their competition or opposition is played by Xian Li, the only cast here that I am familiar with especially after his burst of fame after Chinese TV drama series Go Go Squid! (one of my absolute favorite Chinese series as a side note) which has opened up the doors to a huge variety of roles in the past few years. He captures this role pretty well as his character straddles a line throughout as someone with ulterior motives but remains relatively mysterious right up to the end.

Overall, Hong Kong director and screenwriter Derek Kwok’s venture into the China market with this film is a pretty fun one. The runtime is a little wild at over 2 hours and at times feels a little lengthy but the adventure and action is pretty well done and adds in a little bit of comedy, which primarily is in the beginning. The film does build up a certain level of tension by the end and adds a decent twist to the plot in terms of character and the treasure hunt turnout for this antique. With a decent cast and a focus on the Chinese history and adventure based on some puzzle-oriented clues with some Chinese origins as well, it gives the film a unique angle to a fairly basic treasure hunt adventure film.

*Screener provided by Taro PR*

Photography 101: Landscape & Treasure

I missed last Friday’s Photography 101.  I’m going to start with this one and afterwards, the Photography 101 from today 🙂

It’s a big world out there! Show us what you see in a landscape.

Landscapes generally focus on wide, vast depictions of nature and all of its elements, from formations to weather. In this genre of photography, you won’t find much of a human presence: nature itself is the subject. – The Daily Post

Branches and sky

Its a bit hard in the big city to just find nature so I took a wide sweep of some tree branches.  It was a chance shot because I originally wanted to get falling leaves and moved my view a little wider for this shot.  Not exactly a huge landscape but it does consist nature and not so much the cityscape.

snow dix 30

Taking a wider scene, the goal was a Christmas and snow feeling that I was aiming for in this landscape, although it is in a mall.  Not sure if it really qualifies as landscape.

Moving on to today’s TREASURE:

Show us something (or someone) you cherish, and get up close.

Get close to your subject — either use the zoom function in your camera, if it has one, or physically move closer to it.- The Daily Post

decorations

My treasure is my home: my mom, my boyfriend, my cat.  Christmas is a time for family for me and although its only November, the Christmas spirit is really all around.  These Christmas baubles are made by me.  It was my Sunday morning project.  There’s nothing expensive about these but I made them myself and thats treasure to me because it represents the effort I’ve put into my home. My heart into my family.  I have a lot of treasures but nothing can quite show the treasures that I hold in my heart. So, I will settle with this for now.