July 29, 2021


Here is the film The Pluto Moment from Ming Zhang. China 1h52. Directors’ fortnight. Seen Palais Croisette on May 16, 2018. In these notes from a festival-goer, Antoine Glémain invites Univers readers to report on his first impressions of various films selected by the Cannes festival 2018.

Director and married man Zhun Wang travels from Shanghai to the Western Mountains as part of the pre-production of his next film: The Pluto Moment. Accompanied by his team, Hongmin Ding, his wise producer, Bai, a young and handsome actor, and Chun Du, camerawoman and fan of the director, Zhun aims to film folk songs. Over time, their relationships evolve and they are drawn into a certain wandering.

The mise en abyme of a film around the difficulties of shooting a film lacking inspiration is a puzzle experience, often attempted in the cinema, rarely successful. The Pluto Moment is a major achievement of the genre. The pathetic hero of the film is a filmmaker, Zhun, who is first discovered lost in Shanghai behind the scenes of a blockbuster in which his wife is the star. He then turns out to be just as unsuited to the realization of his own arty ethnographic documentary, so much he perceives nothing of others and of himself, never clear about his desires. But Ming Zhang knows how to see and hear beautifully: the mountains being depopulated, the villagers who subsist by coming to terms with the authorities and clinging to their traditions, the peculiarities of all his characters (including Zhun, never caricatured). He is particularly attentive to women. The young peasant girl who appears at the end of The Pluto Moment is an unforgettable film figure.

film pluto time

The Pluto Moment (Ming Wang Xing Shi Ke) – Ming Zhang (Chine) 2018
Film de Zhang Ming
2 h 30 min
Avec Wang Xuebing, Dan Liu, Zeng Meihuizi

pluto moment cannes