Little pocket thief Wu never got away from the streets like his friends did. He realises that he is alone, as his old buddy doesn't invite him for his wedding. When he falls in love with a ... See full summary »
Country girl Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her lover to study in Beijing. At university, she discovers an intense world of sexual freedom and forbidden pleasure. Enraptured, ... See full summary »
On Dry Well Lane in Beijing in 1953, Chen Shujuan and Lin Shaolong marry. A year later their son, nicknamed Tietou (Iron Head), is born. The Party is everywhere: Mao's photograph, ... See full summary »
When Yan'ni starts college she believes she is embarking on a new life away from her family-and she is, but not the new beginning she anticipates. Once at school, she immediately meets Muyu... See full summary »
Two Chinese coal miners have hit upon the perfect scam: murder one of their fellow mine workers, make the death look like an accident, and extort money from the boss to keep the incident ... See full summary »
Fugui and Jiazhen endure tumultuous events in China as their personal fortunes move from wealthy landownership to peasantry. Addicted to gambling, Fugui loses everything. In the years that ... See full summary »
A young performance artist decides to make his own suicide his last work of art. On the longest day of the year, he plans to melt a huge block of ice with his own body heat and die of ... See full summary »
Lin, a sea captain, returns from a 6 month journey when he is told that his 25-year-old son Lin Bo has been gunned down by the police. In his quest to understand what happened, he realizes ... See full summary »
Jiang Wen stars in his third directorial work that boasts a stellar cast including Joan Chen, Anthony Wong and Jaycee Chan. A polyptych of interconnected stories in different time-zones, ... See full summary »
Anthony Chau-Sang Wong
Beijing: young men in packs, machismo, class divisions, violence, and indifference. Guei arrives from the country: toothbrushes, hotel foyers, and Qin, a rich neighbor in high heels, dazzle him. He gets a job as a messenger. The company issues him a bike, which he must pay for out of his wages. When it is stolen, Guei hunts for it. A student, Jian, has it; for him, it's the key to teen society - with his pals and with Xiao, a girl he fancies. Guei finds the bike and stubbornly tries to reclaim it in the face of great odds. But for Jian to lose the bike would mean humiliation. The two young men - and the people around them - are swept up in the youths' desperation. Written by
Beijing Bicycle is certainly a layered movie that can be read at many levels. It ostensibly deals with a delicate and difficult subject that China confronts in its frenzied project of modernization: the floating population who lives on the edge of the city, the marginalized group that can no longer be glossed over in the grand narrative of urbanization. This floating population is the abjection, the cluster that can not be assimilated, the group being ruthlessly cast away but stubbornly clings on, and protests in silence; it is a disoriented group, usually incompatible to the ever-changing landscape of metropolitans; their voice is constantly being submerged in the hubbub of the sleepless cities. Indeed, the floating population is aphemic. What strikes me, frustrates me and saddens me is Gui's inability to communicate, to speak out, and to articulate for himself. (This is a little far off, but I was reminded of the similar frustration I had as a little girl when reading 'the little mermaid': if the mermaid has not given her voice away to the witch, she could tell the prince that it was she who saved him and wins his love.) Similar to the little mermaid, Gui could not speak up when he was wronged and abused. For instance, all Gui could convey to get his bicycle back is either his obstinate silence or his repeated sentence: "zhe che ben lai jiu shi wo de" (the bicycle is originally mine). His desperate, strident and continuous cry when being forced with violence by Jian's gang to let go off his bicycle is simply heart-breaking. Who is to blame for Gui's aphasia? Is it class division? Is it his own dislocation? Or is it the indifference of the city with its condescending atmosphere? The picture is definitely not black and white. The result of his aphasia, on the other hand, is more self-evident: at the end of the movie, Gui eventually turns to violence to break his silence It is said that at least 60% of the crime that happens in Chinese cities comes from the floating population. They are suggested to be the root of the social problems. News reports constantly show how the innocent city folks are being hurt and robbed by those "the other" from the abjection, the floating population. Beijing Bicycle, however, attempts to approach this abjection, to speak up for those who do not speak for themselves, and allow us to sympathize with their plight.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?