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Wang Shuangli is Deputy Director of the local Cultural Centre, and hopes to be appointed Director. However Old Ma is brought in from the country and installed as Director. This starts a long train of events with Wang's cronies using the bureaucracy to try to oust the new director. At home, Wang has problems because his father wants Wang to have a son to carry on the family name. However, because of the one-child policy, Wang cannot have any more children unless his young daughter is certified infirm. Written by
First of all, I'm surprised this movie hasn't seen an American release. The style, acting, and direction are all pleasantly up to par with good Hollywood fare.
The film takes us thought the life of a low level bureaucrat who's trying to become the director of the cultural ministry of a medium size Chinese city. Unfortunately, because his allies are all lower in the bureaucratic ladder, he only finds himself as the acting director - running the scenes while the upper level officials keep sending inferior, but better connected, individuals.
From this basic plot flowers a fascinating view of contemporary Chinese society. Sub-plots cover the clash between the old world and the new, accepting one's lot in life, and what it truly takes to be happy - sprinkled with a great mixture of comedy, tragedy, and surprise. At a running time of about 2hrs and 20 minutes, it has enough time to cover roughly 2 years of time without feeling overlong.
The best feature of this film is its accessibility. As a Westerner with no advanced knowledge of Chinese society, I found the characters understandable, approachable, and very sympathetic. The entire cast is exceptional. I recommend tracking down a copy of this movie. If you found any of the above comments appealing, you will bot be disappointed.
I gave it 8 out of 10.
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