SILENT RIVERDirected by Chris Chan Lee
Cast: Amy Tsang, Max Faugno, West Liang
Official Selection, 2021 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Outstanding Courage in Filmmaking, 2021 Tallgrass Film Festival
There’s no decoder ring for SILENT RIVER, Chris Chan Lee’s gloriously hallucinogenic, sci-fi desert noir. Chan rips apart the double helix of identity and memory and replaces it with a mobius strip—make that a mobius strap—lashing us to a ride that careens toward WTF borders, twisting and U-turning from beginning to end and back again. Dear Audience, simply surrender to the unnerving pleasures of Lee’s Lynchian cocktail of love on the run, motel showdowns, and Americana gone haywire.
Elliot’s life was already a twilight zone before he met Greta. Limping, broke, and lugging a wheel-less suitcase in the middle of nowhere, he drags himself to a roadside motel, wallows in wedding videos, and plans to win back his wife. But something is definitely off… the freaky noises next door. The odd motel guests. The desert bogeyman. Underneath this strangely oppressive cosmos, everything whispers with weird. And then comes Greta. Fending off panic and heartbreak, Elliott (the fantastic West Liang) follows her in search of a true north, pulled instead through a labyrinth of unreliable truths, trying hard not to lose himself along the way.
Lee was a seminal part of the 90s wave of Asian American auteurs. His third feature floods the senses with Norbert Shieh’s gorgeous cinematography and eerie sound design, crafting a foreboding dreamscape thrumming with horror, gumshoe, and cyborgs in the soil.