IMDb > The Orphan of Anyang (2001)

The Orphan of Anyang (2001) More at IMDbPro »Anyangde guer (original title)


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Chao Wang (novel)
Chao Wang (screenplay)
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Release Date:
13 March 2002 (France) See more »
A prostitute from the Northeast, desperate and unable to make ends meet, abandons her baby. An unemployed... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
11 wins & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Powerful impression of decay See more (5 total) »



Directed by
Chao Wang 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Chao Wang  novel
Chao Wang  screenplay

Produced by
Fang Li .... executive producer
Chao Wang .... producer
Cinematography by
Xi Zhang 
Film Editing by
Chao Wang 
Production Design by
Chao Wang 
Sound Department
Wang Yu .... sound
Other crew
Claire Viroulaud .... press attache


Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Anyangde guer" - China (original title)
See more »
84 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Chosen by "Telerama" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2002 (#08)See more »


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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
Powerful impression of decay, 16 December 2002
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.

Orphan of Anyang, an uncompromising debut film by Wang Chao, conveys a powerful impression of a rotting urban center with its outdoor food stands, dingy industrial buildings, rancid-looking waterways, and people whose lives mirror the grimness of the physical space. Its portrayal of the struggle for survival in Anyang might seem strange to Western eyes accustomed to more glamorous Chinese films but its bleakness only reflects the daily experience of a large percentage of the world's population.

Based on a short story by the director, Orphan of Anyang focuses on the lives of three people, a criminal, a prostitute, and an unemployed industrial worker and how their lives intersect when a baby is abandoned at an outdoor food stand. The film takes up where Platform leaves off, documenting the results of the swift change from collectivization to individual enterprise in the lives of three marginal characters living in Anyang. As the film begins, Yu Dagang (Sun Guilin) has just lost his job as an industrial worker. Strapped for money he must barter with his former co-workers, exchanging meal coupons for cash.

While eating at an outdoor noodle stand, Dagang finds an abandoned baby with a note asking for the baby's care in exchange for 200 yuan each month. Desperate, Dagang takes the child home and awkwardly begins to care for him. He soon discovers that the mother Yanli (Yue Sengli) is a prostitute and the girlfriend of Boss Side, a small-time triad boss always surrounded by a gang of hoodlums. Dagang finally invites Yanli to live with him if she promises to give up her life of prostitution. When Boss Side is diagnosed with leukemia, however, he returns to Yanli's house and attempts to take back his child as his only legacy.

With little dialogue or cinematic embellishments such as background music or stylish cinematography, Wang delivers filmmaking stripped to its bare essentials with only the clatter of urban street sounds left to penetrate the dreariness. Wang uses a fixed camera and long takes as Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Unlike Hou, however, Wang's film lacks rhythm and energy and its extremely slow pace doesn't create tension or help to illuminate the characters. For example, when Yanli and Yu meet at a restaurant, both sit and eat noodles for a good two minutes until someone breaks the awkward silence. Orphan of Anyang is an important glimpse of China rarely seen and its ultra-realism is involving, but I found the film to be strangely distancing and the ambiguous ending left me unsatisfied.

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