Soundless Wind Chime is the story of Ricky who leaves Hong Kong for Switzerland to find the lost soul and the past of his dead lover, Pascal. He faces a struggle of memories, reality and illusion on his dreamlike journey. When he visits a beautiful thrift store, Rickey meets Ueli, a man that looks identical to PAscal, but has a totally different personality. This is a very complex film that I would probably have to watch twice to get the full scope of it.
Director Hung has apparently been working on the film for five years, and it shows. Striving for a densely poetic texture, the film is so overloaded with visual bliss. There’s a lot going on beneath Soundless Wind Chime’s stylish, deliberately arty surface. Unfortunately, it’s the filmmaker who’ll probably get the most out of Soundless Wind Chime, and not his audience due to the fact that his intentions are too unfocused, and aren’t bridged to the audience effectively. The main aspect that might draw you away is an attempt to blur the boundaries of reality, memories and imagination. There is contrast that shows the distance between Ricky and Pascal.
At close to 2 hours long, the movie still manages to oversimplify some of the more intricate details of the relationship. This is a gay couple in Eastern shores and it would have been interesting to see the conflicts that this would brew over there. The couple never faces any violent objections, even from the older Chinese ladies who work at the restaurant with Ricky. All in all, this film is an intensely personal story with autobiographical overtones that proves too much for first time director Kit Hung.
It is a shame really, because if this film was in the hands of a stronger director…it would have been an explosive film. Still, it is just my opinion and others have deemed it on a higher scale so take it for what it is worth. In fact, this film was was nominated for the prestigious Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival and shared the Best International Feature award at the 2009 Vancouver Queer Film Festival. Juggling locations and time periods are not for the novice, and Hung’s choices feel too random and uncertain making this great film just barely passable to recommend.