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Foreign Film - China - The Drummer

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The Drummer - Zhan. gu
Jaycee Chan, Roy Cheung, Josie Ho
Directed by Kenneth Bi
Mandarin and Cantonese with English Subtitles
China 2007
Film Movement 2009
113 minutes

The Drummer (China) is a foreign film DVD far removed from the artsy-fartsy stuff usually associated with this category. Like most foreign films in the Film Movement catalogue, this one is hard to pigeonhole. This movie from China is quite interesting if somewhat slow paced.

Sid is an immature and full of himself young man. He plays drums for a club band. He has an affair with the mistress of Hong Kong’s triad boss. They are found out. Sid’s father, a smaller crime boss, is asked for his son’s hands to pay for his disrespect. The father makes Sid and Chiu, one of his men, disappear in the mountains for a while. Sid comes across a troupe of Zen drummers and wants to join. The experience will change him. Is this going to be enough?

Sid’s learning process will remind a western audience that of Danny’s in The Karate Kid (not that there’s any relation): fetch water, fetch forty rocks about this size, etc. As one of the senior drummers puts it, he also has to learn how not to drum. He also has a crush on one of the drummers. There is much more than just that of course.

The Triad backstory is always there in the background, giving the movie a bit of tension. There are a couple of events that are a bit hard to figure out but this does not get in the way of enjoying this film.

The Drummer is a very interesting movie that should please foreign film DVD fans. Granted, some of the shots are a little self-indulgent visually but that is often the case in films like this. A couple of sequences are a bit hard to figure out story wise.

Special features include a Making of. Like all Film Movement DVD, The Drummer includes a short. Here, it is Love and War by Swedish director Fredrick Emilson. This is an operatic puppet animation film the likes of which you have never seen.

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