OLD STONE, written and directed by first-timer Johnny Ma (shown below), works as well as it does is due in large part to the quietly riveting performance from its lead actor, Chen Gang (shown on poster, left, and further below), who brings such self-effacing honesty and troubling kindness to his role of protagonist, that he will keep you hooked through some very odd twists and turns, a little sentimentality and a full-out character descent into... well, you'll see.
A Monster With A Thousand Heads. But, no: it lacks that film's momentum, swift pacing and single-mindedness. Instead Ma goes a bit too heavily for "art," opening with and returning time and again to a view of a forest and its rolling trees.
Zeitgeist Films, in Mandarin with English subtitles, and running a short 81 minutes, the movie opens in New York (at the IFC Center) tomorrow, Wednesday, November 30; in Seattle (at the Grand Illusion Cinema) on December 2; and Los Angeles (at Laemmle's Ahrya Fine Arts) on December 9. For a look at all the dozen currently-scheduled playdates -- with theaters and cities included -- simply click here and then scroll down.