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The Piano in a Factory

By MITCH LILLIE
[ONE NIGHT ONLY] Divorcing a distant husband or wife may be easy, but as soon as a child is involved, things get desperate. This, at least, is how Chen Guilin’s (Wang Qian-Yuan) story goes. His young daughter is a promising pianist who, given the choice by her separated mother and father, will live with whichever parent can provide a piano. For Guilin’s wife (Hailu Qin), who has taken a shine to a man swindling the public with fake medicine, cash is no problem. But as a steelworker, Guilin has few options to obtain a piano. After a wooden model of a piano and a robbery attempt fail, Guilin turns to a ragtag group of old friends to build his own in a semi-abandoned factory. Russian chanson and folk music feature prominently in the film, and combined with the setting of dingy factories and smokestacks, the mood dial of The Piano in a Factory is turned to bleak. The freshness of the plot and mild humor—Guilan’s friends drunkenly try to steal a school piano—illuminate the dim sights a bit. The Piano in a Factory wants to be gloomy and, frankly, succeeds at it. But while lack of closure can be exhilarating, in The Piano in a Factory it’s depressingly flat.
 

Special Note

NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium. 7 pm Saturday, Dec. 29. Includes admission to Be With Me at 9 pm
 
  • Running Time:
  • Release Date: Thursday, December 20, 2012
  • Critic's Score: C+
  • Watch the trailer
 

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