The Last Year of Darkness review – candid and intimate dive into Chinese club culture

The Last Year of Darkness review – candid and intimate dive into Chinese club culture


Mullinkosson is a multi-talented artist and skateboarder hailing from Chicago. In his latest project, he captures the vibrant and alluring world of Chengdu’s underground club scene with a natural and carefree approach. The title may seem mysterious, but it likely symbolizes the impending end of Funky Town, a beloved hangout for the individuals featured in the film. The club’s dimly lit ambiance creates a sense of comfort and acceptance, creating a neon-lit environment where only youth, beauty, and living in the present moment matter.

Mullinkosson is completely comfortable and integrated with his circle of acquaintances – nightclub-goers, entertainers, and musicians – whom he enjoys spending time with while they (completely uninhibitedly) consume large amounts of alcohol; and the sight of individuals vomiting in public becomes a recurring theme. He captures a particularly peculiar moment in which a young woman sways back and forth in the foreground, leading up to a disturbing instance of vomiting, while two people in the background casually chat, seemingly unfazed.

Mullinkosson is known for being intimate and involved when observing intimate moments, such as kissing or fighting. He is present with a couple as they watch the sunrise from a rooftop, surrounded by the awe-inspiring futuristic cityscape. He notices a woman who is struggling with depression and considering taking her own life as she edges closer to the edge to get a better view. Another character openly shares their experience of being sexually abused at the same location at the age of seven. A drag performer grapples with an existential crisis, admitting, “I don’t even enjoy seeing myself as a woman.”

The filmmaker concludes his work with a lively, youth-driven finale set to David Bowie’s “Life on Mars.” However, there is a bittersweet element as the characters say goodbye to their carefree lifestyle in a complex and temporary manner.