Hao ji le (Have a Nice Day)
There’s nothing like a colossal quantity of money to bring people together. The action in Liu Jian’s Hao ji le (Have a Nice Day) is centred around a duffle bag containing a million CNY (a little over £117,000), which has been stolen from a shady crime boss by one of his drivers. The action then almost immediately retreats to a small university town to the north of the unnamed Chinese city where the theft occurred. The money has (naturally) been stolen to fund an operation to fix some botched plastic surgery, and as more people become aware of the contents of the duffle bag, the more people covet it.
The animation in Hao ji le is minimalist and yet oddly rich, with eclectic characters romping around a fully realised landscape as their greed and envy compel them to do whatever it takes to get their hands on the dough. This minimalism largely works, although there are a few too many pseudo-philosophical conversations with characters sitting side by side, with quite literally only their mouths moving. There are thematic elements from other genres, which are presented as interesting though unremarkable, and these are used along with weird, unexpected flourishes that add surrealism to the already wonderfully preposterous proceedings.
Hao ji le could quite easily become a cult favourite. It really is that sort of movie. There are some surprisingly current references, and given the long haul needed to create animation, it’s curious to hear references to both Brexit and Donald Trump. In fact, the entirety of the brisk 75 minutes of Hao ji le could be considered to be curious: a curious reflection of contemporary China. It’s an admirably controlled piece of work, as it would be easy to let the outlandish events and eclectic characters on display spiral out of control.
Hao ji le (Have a Nice Day) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read our interview with the director, Liu Jian, here.
For further information about the 67th Berlin Film Festival visit here.
Read more reviews from the festival here.
Watch a clip from Hao ji le (Have a Nice Day) here: