The Go Master

Director: Tian Zhuangzhuang
Year Released: 2006
Rating: 2.0

Tian celebrates the single-minded and obsessive devotion of Wu Qingyuan (played by Chang Chen) to the board game Go, which could be thought of as the East's equivalent to chess. For a more involved examination of the mechanics of the game, you'd be better off consulting outside documentation - this is more of an austere visual poem dedicated to Wu, sitting and staring at the board with absolute focus, completely ignoring the politics raging all around him (after a bomb goes off, he and his fellow game nuts quickly blow the debris off the board). In terms of formalist design this is exquisite filmmaking, but on a human level it can't help but seem slightly vacuous, as if Wu is more of a strategizing wizard than an actual construction of flesh-and-blood. Tian's proposed follow-up to this, The Super Mario Bros. Master, is currently on hiatus.