• Strictly Films

Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue (NYFF 2020); Grade: C+


Strictly Films welcomes you back to more coverage of this years New York Film Festival! Our next film on the block: Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue.


Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue is from the film maker whom brought you last years Ash is Purest White. In this documentary feature, will take place around the film makers local literature festival in Shanxi, China. Some of the greatest writers will be featured in this years festival, as the film features each and everyone of them telling their own personal stories. Of humble beginnings, their own personal life regarding their family/livelihood, and most certainly how they became successful writers.


Ash is Purest White ranked high in my top films of 2019 list, so of course I was looking forward to whatever the film maker has in stored for us this time around. With Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue, that’s a fair amount to like about this documentary. Though the film making style isn’t particularly different from any other documentary film, but from a visual standpoint despite it’s simplicity, it looks good. It’s mostly centered around the speakers, but has hints of showing lovely locations regarding the waters, grain fields, and hints of the country itself.


Substance wise I felt there is a fair amount to enjoy. You’re encountering some truly personal and even emotional stories, within these writers. Just the way they kept battling through their early life struggles, of not securing a job from an early age or not making enough, as then one day becoming a successful writer was truly inspiring. Also enjoyed the personal story of the one’s mother/father at the end, as it truly shows how much honor respect these people have for their families.


One particular problem at hand regarding this documentary is most certainly the substance, as it can over stay it’s welcome. The film is mostly centered around these speakers, as even though the information they’re sharing can at times be intriguing, it can also over stay it’s welcome as the conversations drag on WAY too long. In most documentaries like these ones, often enough the film maker would sometimes cut away from the being in the room, as their shown fascinating coverage of this land. I think if the film maker would let the film escape the room time to time, as he really shows the admiration of this town/country, surely it would’ve been a much more engaging watch. Funny how the speaker talks about “Editing” and writing proper “Paragraphs” however in this film we’re shown off too way too many run on sentences, that needed to be toned down.


I think for a personal project as the likes of this, this wasn’t half bad and I do appreciate all those whom were involved, as their stories do bring some inspiration to up and coming writers. Worth noting that while partaking in this film, notice how those living in a socialist and communist community, are not fairly better nor worst than the capitalist country we Americans are living in. We sometimes express the fact we need to adapt to changing how we run our government, however partaking in this film... There’s not much of a difference only smaller wages, so I would think twice because this La La Land world you seek is not going happen, but then again that fantasy world only exists in Heaven.


Overall, Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue is a perfectly average film. I recommend checking this one out, got some valuable useful information. -Mitch Smietana

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