An Inaccurate Memoir
aka 匹夫 aka Pi Fu
Written by Leon Yang Shu-Peng and Zhang Xiao-Bei
Directed by Leon Yang Shu-Peng
Wow, did I get An Inaccurate Memoir wrong! Here I thought it looked cool and would be entertaining, but instead it just ends up being boring and making me wonder why I’m wasting time on it when I have a thousand other films to watch. A sad end, because An Inaccurate Memoir looked strong, taking place during the Japanese invasion of China and featuring bandits and resistant fighters in a near-lawless setting.
It’s not all bad, there is some awesome cinematography of wide open spaces indicative of Westerns that so many of these Eastern/Occupied China films emulate. There is some cool imagery, if you are patient enough to wait around for it. Most striking is the occupying Japanese soldiers playing soccer with a skull. The Japanese are dehumanized in most scenes, especially the raid on the bandit base by gas mask wearing Japanese troops that look like monstrous invaders.
The action sequences are too sparse, and when under way, are done with an intense energy, like every move and shot is done with great pain and heroic struggle. Think everyone acting like screaming Spartans from 300 except without all the stylized effects around them and just in a real firefight, and it begins to look ridiculous. I’m all for stylizing action films, but here it is just a mess of struggle. Sure, some characters it can be advantageous to show the heroic struggle…if used in moderation, not filled so much the seams are bursting.