This arresting tale from Ho Wi Ding, told in reverse-chronological order, reveals one man’s fraught inner world and the circumstances that led to a life-altering decision.
Cities of Last Things
Ho Wi Ding
From the striking opening image of a man hurling himself to his death off a multi-storey apartment building, Ho Wi Ding's Cities of Last Things announces itself as a freefall — a spiral through the events that led to this horrible tragedy.
The story follows Lao Zhang, a depressed, ex-police officer pining for a lost love and fighting with his unfaithful wife about their long-soured relationship. But Lao Zhang intends to finally act, with a calculated fury, in the hope of killing the deep-seated pain that is tearing him apart. As we track backwards through time, we begin to see the world open up around him, revealing his relationships with the women who were pivotal to the person he has become.
Spanning generations, Cities of Last Things builds a seering, non-preachy portrait of societal and political change through the lens of an emotional drama. Reminiscent of the early work of Wong Kar-wai, it finds its heartbeat in the pulse-pounding rhythm of the underbelly of the unnamed city. Through his seamless blending of genres, from sci-fi to noir to romance, the Malaysian-born Ho commandingly employs cinematic language as a tool to discuss the root of our collective sadness, which is perhaps the very thing that makes us human.