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Short Film Review: A New Year’s Dance (2023) by Szu-Wei Chen

A New Year's Dance (2023) by Szu-Wei Chen
"Of course. How can I forget"

The alienation of the megalopolis has always been an issue that particularly “hit” immigrants, and even more so during the holidays. Szu-Wei Chen focuses on the concept in order to present a very interesting 17-minute short, that highlights the fact with a pinch of intrigue.

“A New Year's Dance” review is part of the Submit Your Film Initiative

Yu is a middle-aged woman who has been living in New York for two decades, working in an acupuncture/chiropractor parlor. She has a group of friends who seem to have her back but she is longing for some romantic connection, which is what makes her finally start considering the advances of Mr Wang, a married dance enthusiast, during the Lunar Year. Her friends are somewhat judgmental when they find out, but that does not deter her. Life, however, seems to have other plans for her.

Szu-Wei Chen directs a very appealing short that manages to combine the aforementioned concept with drama, nostalgia, intrigue and a bittersweet sense that works quite well in terms of aesthetics. The concept of missed chance adds to the dramatic essence of the movie, but the message in the end, moves more towards the sweet rather than the bitter path, with the director stating that following your heart is always a good choice, particularly when one has very little to lose.

Apart from context, “A New Year's Dance” also thrives on its aesthetics, with the combination of Lee C. Zhang's cinematography, the overall coloring, and Chen's own editing resulting in a series of very appealing images, that mirror the context to perfection.

Sherry Li as Yu us quite good both in highlighting her inner struggle and her agony later on, even without that many lines. as Mr. Wang is also good in his cheeky kind-heartedness, with their chemistry being on rather good level too.

“A New Year's Dance” is a very meaningful, well-shot and well-acted film, that manages to eloquently present its comments while remaining entertaining from beginning to end.

About the author

Panos Kotzathanasis

My name is Panos Kotzathanasis and I am Greek. Being a fan of Asian cinema and especially of Chinese kung fu and Japanese samurai movies since I was a little kid, I cultivated that love during my adolescence, to extend to the whole of SE Asia.

Starting from my own blog in Greek, I then moved on to write for some of the major publications in Greece, and in a number of websites dealing with (Asian) cinema, such as Taste of Cinema, Hancinema, EasternKicks, Chinese Policy Institute, and of course, Asian Movie Pulse. in which I still continue to contribute.

In the beginning of 2017, I launched my own website, Asian Film Vault, which I merged in 2018 with Asian Movie Pulse, creating the most complete website about the Asian movie industry, as it deals with almost every country from East and South Asia, and definitely all genres.

You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

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