Yikes. This is probably the silliest user score I've seen on all of MAL. Feelings of Mountains and Waters is an important, masterful film, and it deserves much higher than a 6. Regardless, on to the review.
One of the most beautiful short films ever, Feelings of Mountains and Waters is like a painting come to life. Themes the film explores include the majesty of nature, the wonder of music, the love between a master and an apprentice, and death, all in a completely dialogue free 18 minutes.
Some films just speak for themselves and don't lend themselves very well to review, this is definitely
one of them. It's easy to track down and there aren't any language or age restrictions, so I suggest you just watch it and experience it for yourself.
The joyful tune traversed the serene, painted landscape via a vibration that propagated an audible wave of which cannot be seen, but only heard. The wave of pressure pierced the old sage’s ear drums, alerting him to the presence of a young, vivacious heart who’s spiritual vase had yet to be filled with the wisdoms of the world. But the sage had neither the time nor the willingness to instruct the uncouth adolescent, as he remained steadfast in his cryptic journey.
Fate, as one would conjecture, inhibited his forward progression, forcing him to recuperate and recognize his last objective before his demise. Knowledge,
after all, is a precious gift, one which must be transferred to the next generation to carry the luminescent “spirt” of the past into the future; thus, propelling mankind further into enlightenment through the “standing on the shoulders of giants.” The guqin juxtaposed the jaunty tune of the flute with its methodical, quiet sounds. It offered sophistication and clarity via its demand for meticulous precision, rather than violent strumming. A test of patience, if you will. A reward of delayed gratification, which cannot be realized until the process of learning has been fulfilled.
Such is life.
And just as life capitulates to the inexorable flow of time, humans, too, must purposefully accept the natural flow of the world around them. The flowing streams must be followed in their natural direction and not against it, to avoid unwanted struggle. A guqin should be played in a scrupulous, unhurried fashion, to prevent undesirable tones which may hurt the ears. And the end of a life must be seen as a fulfilled journey with a passing of understanding to the next generation, instead of clinging to possession(s) which cannot be transported into death. If one wishes to live a simple life, they must live simply. Listen to the music. Respect and understand nature. And pass your teachings on to others.
Wei's last work brings together a lot of elements that characterize his filmography and marks his departure from directing animated shorts. A final homage to the Chinese painting, this time in Shan shui style, to the Guqin music, and to the rather common motif of passing along one's virtuosity in favor of self-cultivation. It intends to evoke a nostalgic feeling, a sentiment of longing for what is no more, perhaps serving as a metaphor to his own creative work which ends up serving as both reference and inspiration to any spiritual successor. It can be anything really, insofar as it remains a largely conceptual piece
whose core is meant to be deciphered in the depths of our right hemisphere. Maybe I'm inflating it. I'd easily argue the last scene is far more powerful than the rest, as the young boatman looking at the white canvas comprises so many possible emotions. Among the best shorts around, it definitely leaves an impression, however slight.