By Gabriele Noia
Translation: Bianca Baroni
Few things are more interesting than the way in which the powerful and various chinese cinema rielaborates american genres, adapting them to its style and society. In particular, Dearest it’s a movie of kidnappings, in which, in the beginning, a 4 years old child is taken by somebody and the divorced parents start wandering typically towards the desperate search. Hollywood would have substitute the parents with police and the individual investigation with the consequent human degradation (the last examples are Prisoners and Ransom). Instead, Dearest surprises, shifts many times and constantly floors the spectators while telling a real story.
The mission is always the same, get the audience to shed a tear, and in the name of this, some aberrant melodramatic choices are made or the plot, otherwise very precise and exact, is ofter strained. The goal is achieved already in the first 10 minutes, but that sentimentalism level is kept high for 2 hours in an incredible way. In the chinese cinema’s logic, the story of the society triumphs over the individual’s and in this search for a lost kid, the focus moves away from the parents’ psychology to leave space to profiteers and kidnappers. In fact, with a huge jump, the second part of the movie is set on the kidnapping, without losing a tear in the meanwhile and with a series of great and touching twists that last until the last scene.
A powerful image comes from the desolation of a country where children kidnappings represent a very frequent reality (it’s not said, but the suspect is that the policies of fertility control has to do with this). In the style of the italian cinema of liberation, the main characters’ real obstacle is represented by society, while the real antagonists are the others and the world around, especially when the villains are described in their incredible humanity. The story is fulfilled with more and more characters (in the end, a lawyer too) and their own individual stories, but the aim doesn’t change. Dearest tells about the most beloved ones, devastated by the contemporary chinese society, the mother-son relationships and the heart breaking power of human love oppressed by the law and it’s done not always softly but with a beautiful mastery.