A Land Imagined. 2018. France/Netherlands/Singapore. Directed by Yeo Siew Hua. English, Mandarin, and Bengali with English subtitles. 95 min.
Winner of the top prize at last year’s Locarno Film Festival, Yeo Siew Hua’s third feature is a clever, evocative shape-shifter that begins as a kind of dreamy noir and ends up a sober, politically incisive work of social realism. First we follow gruff, disenchanted detective Lok (Peter Yu) as he searches for Wang (Liu Xiaoyi), a missing construction worker from mainland China. We’re then ushered back in time to see Wang’s life before his disappearance—and what had seemed a typical noir scenario instead turns out to be far more in line with reality as we know it today. A Netflix release. New York Premiere