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Plot: Four independent stories set in modern China about random acts of violence.
Smart Tags: #modern_china #china #violence #injustice #dehumanization #assassin #downward_spiral #women_singing #motorcycle_riding #hatchet #victim_kills_assailant #over_turned_truck #spilled_load #self_injection #shot_in_the_head_point_blank #blood_spatter #horse_drawn_cart #brains_blown_out #killing_a_chicken #surrounded_by_snakes #split_lip
|7.1/10 Votes: 10,556|
|7.3 Votes: 185 Popularity: 7.603|
A Precious but Utterly Vague Picture of the Transforming China
One additional star for the topic that few has tried to film.
In about ten or twenty years, these 120 minutes of social depicting will be one of the very rare and precious visual stories for people to understand and entertain what is going on in the first ten years of the 21st century China. It offers a prospective with some interesting details that makes sense to the westerners or maybe its fellow countrymen in the future. But it doesn’t really add up for the people living in China nowadays, or at least, the details are not enough.
Stories are too short that they can barely touch the real psychology that the Chinese laborers are having today. I’m not sure whether it is something that the director fails to do or he is not allowed to do. For example, there are lots of complexities existing between a complaining Shanxi miner and a mad murderer. Throughout the first story, the only real attempt Dahai, who has learned the laws and has close relatives living in the city, has made to disclose the corruption is a mail letter without a specific address. This is far away from the countless efforts that a Chinese miner would make before he explode himself with the illegal riches. To me, the efforts, the struggles, and the final desperate in Dahai’s mind are the most interesting parts of the story. However, nothing really happens in the movie. The result is that, Dahai seems more like a legendary cowboy coming from a classic American western movie than a struggling Chinese worker who has relatives to care about.
It touches the social issues we are all witnessing in China today, it is entertaining and somewhat heroic, but it fails to restore the story into reality, let alone into a provoking level.
Another great piece of contemporary cinema from Direcoter Jia
Since I viewed ‘The World’ and ‘Still Life’ from director Jia ZK a few years back, I have become a fan of this 6th generation film director from China. In this film he explored the ugly side of China, amid its prosperity (at least for some), GDP growth and blatant capitalism. It is about the contrast between the average person trying to make a decent living, and the corrupt officials and bandits that got rich quick. The film contains 4 stories, loosely linked together. Corruption, prostitution, social injustice, stressful lives of migrant workers in the World’s Factories in the southern part of the country are all the issues explored and exposed here. Gosh, I am glad this film was allowed to be made by the Chinese government. I bet Jia’s international fame has something to do with it.
All in all, I enjoyed the film greatly. I once worked and lived in China for a number of years so the stories relate to me quite easily. For now, I hope Jia can continue to do his work, with the freedom and liberty that he has so far enjoyed. I look forward to more of his work.
Original Language zh
Runtime 2 hr 10 min (130 min)
Rated Not Rated
Genre Action, Drama
Director Zhangke Jia
Writer Zhangke Jia (screenplay)
Actors Wu Jiang, Baoqiang Wang, Tao Zhao, Lanshan Luo
Country China, Japan, France
Awards 19 wins & 12 nominations.
Production Company Bitters End, Office Kitano, Bandai Visual Co. Ltd., Shanghai Film Group
Sound Mix Dolby Digital
Aspect Ratio 2.35 : 1
Camera Arri Alexa M, Arriscope and Zeiss Master Anamorphic Lenses, Arri Alexa Studio, Arriscope and Zeiss Master Anamorphic Lenses
Film Length N/A
Negative Format Codex ARRIRAW (2.8K)
Cinematographic Process Arriscope (anamorphic) (source format), Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Master Scope (anamorphic) (source format)
Printed Film Format 35 mm, D-Cinema