Chess has Kasparov; the oriental board game Go has Wu Qingyuan. In this meditative, snail-on-smack-paced biopic the turbulent life of the player-prodigy is retold with enigmatic lyricism. Born in China but moving to Japan at an early age, Wu's status as Go's unbeatable master is thrown into chaos when mid-20th century upheaval (war, famine, atom bombs) sweep the pieces off the board. Shot with cerebral precision and a Zen-like sense of purpose by Tian Zhuangzhuang (Springtime In A Small Town), The Go Master shrouds its subject in mystery and, like the game itself, demands patience, stamina and endurance from its audience. The rapturous camerawork and Chang Chen's performance as Wu both delight, but there's little insight into what makes a game about white and black pebbles so utterly absorbing.
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