John Anderson, review
John Anderson, Fest Notebook
“This intellectually bracing, visually arresting documentary goes far beyond character study into a search for Chinese identity.... Mattila freeze-frames China at a moment when its aspirations are at war with its sense of identity.”
“What “Chimeras” and some other more adventurous films noted was the ability of filmmakers to ake movies about abstract ideas, even when conventional visual materials aren’t readily available and may not even exist.”
"Mika Mattila’s thought-provoking “Chimeras”, a documentary about the search for a uniquely Chinese aesthetic in an international art world dominated by the West.... is able to home in on the smallest of details."
“Finnish director Mika Mattila successfully illustrates a rather abstract theme in this intriguing film.”
"Mattila’s masterstroke is not to force comparisons. Instead he opens up space for the viewer to draw their own connections. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, while enjoyable, never dug particularly deep into the core sociopolitical issues underpinning Chinese contemporary art; thankfully, Chimeras fills in the yawning gaps."
"Tightly focused... thoughtful, serious film about a nation struggling to understand itself while being forced to assert its place in a world long dominated by Western Civilization."
"Finns – like the Danes – know how to do docs..... Artistically crafted, Mattila’s doc is even more memorable for its philosophical content."
"La regia di stile nord europeo di Mattila si sposa perfettamente alle ambientazioni sospese degli ambienti metropolitani cinesi.Chimeras" è cinema documentario puro con influenze visive che vanno da Kaurismaki a Jarmusch per passare ad atmosfere “alla Tokyo – Ga” di Wenders."
(The directorial style of north European Mattila , the perfect answer to the lingering expectations of Chinese metropolitan environments...Chimeras " is pure documentary film with visual influences ranging from Kaurismaki to Jarmusch with nod to the atmosphere "at Tokyo - Ga " Wenders)
“...beautifully shot and deeply insightful.... Film's complexity stems from it's knowledge that there are no simple answers to the contradictory pulls that are experienced within rapidly changing cultures."
“… a critical and unflinching frame on the Chinese art world…”
"...the least classifiable titles often prove to be Hot Docs’ most memorable... Chimeras juxtaposes the careers of two figures in China’s contemporary art scene... challenging matters of art and commerce..."
"Mika Mattila saattaa hyvinkin olla seuraava kansainvälisen tason suomalainen dokumenttiohjaaja, tai oikeastaan hänestä tuli jo sellainen heti tämän ensimmäisen dokumentin myötä... toteutukseltaan upea"
"Mattila’s debut is undoubtedly one the year’s most successful Finnish feature documentaries.... considerable cinematic, aesthetic and technical flair.
"Mattilan esikoisdokumenttielokuva on kansainvälistä tasoa.
...hienossa dokumenttielokuvassa brändimaailma törmää kommunistisen taiteen raunioihin" ★★★★
"Docpointi hitt Mika Mattila "Kimäärid": hiina popkunstist uue nurga alt."
"Mika Mattila is ingenious in the way he makes the two artists strong contrasts, and at the same time a single voice of Chinese contemporary art’s uneasy relationship to the West... this is, already by this point, a beautiful and elegant film."
“Mattila’s camera steps back and observes, offering a contemplative work on a complex subject.... a deep exploration of the contradictions”
“...shot in a beautifully naturalistic style with an artistic eye -- is imbued with layers of meaning and profound moments of intimacy with his subjects.”
“Mika Mattila has the courage and the skill to bring us stories of contradictory men who work within the system, without judging their motives or choices.”
“...poses some interesting questions about how our world continues to get smaller.”
“For those with an interest in philosophy, art, and study in cultures, Chimeras will be a very rewarding film.”
"Subtle and thought-provoking.... fascinating glimpse of contemporary Chinese artistic culture, and an extremely absorbing watch."