Welcome to Module 07 of our online film course! In this chapter, we embark on a fascinating exploration of color in film, delving into its historical significance and cultural nuances. Our chosen cinematic masterpiece for this module, Deep Sea (original title: Shen hai, from 2023), takes us beneath the waves, offering a visually stunning narrative that uniquely intertwines with the rich colors of Chinese customs.

The Reading

To set the stage for our exploration, delve into the insightful pages of Chapter 7 (pages 191 - 215) in The Art of Watching Films. This reading lays the groundwork for understanding the intricate ways in which color influences storytelling in cinema.

The Watching

Deep Sea (Shen hai) (2023)

Deep Sea' screenshot from the film

Written and directed by Xiaopeng Tian, Deep Sea is a captivating tale with mesmerizing visuals and a compelling narrative. Beyond its storytelling, the film really stands out for its innovative use of color, influenced by the vibrant palette of Chinese customs. Shenxiu is a young girl navigating the challenges of her parents' recent divorce as she embarks on a sea trip with her new family. Still grappling with the absence of her mother, Shenxiu stumbles upon a mysterious hum, reminiscent of a melody her mother once sang.

Follow Shenxiu's curiosity as it leads her to the extraordinary Deep Sea Restaurant, a whimsical underwater establishment where sea creatures take center stage, serving a cast of humanoid fishes. The film's narrative unfolds against the backdrop of this mesmerizing aquatic world, blending fantasy and emotion in a visually stunning masterpiece.

Released on the Chinese New Year (January 22, 2023), Deep Sea captivated audiences with its magical storytelling and innovative animation. The film has already earned recognition on the global stage, receiving a nomination for screening as part of Generation Kplus at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival. Deep Sea is also set to be nominated in the Animation category at the prestigious 36th Tokyo International Film Festival.

Note: as always, the media for this can be found in the LEH 353 - Visual Storytelling library on Plex.


The Questions

When you have completed the above film, answer the following questions.