IMDb > Unknown Pleasures (2002)
Ren xiao yao
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Unknown Pleasures (2002) More at IMDbPro »Ren xiao yao (original title)


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Release Date:
22 January 2003 (France) See more »
Two unemployed Chinese teenagers have trouble resisting the temptations of the Western world. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
(3 articles)
Refn, Coppola on Cannes jury
 (From ScreenDaily. 28 April 2014, 3:35 AM, PDT)

Cannes 2013. Consistency In a Filmmaker's World: Jia Zhangke's "A Touch of Sin"
 (From MUBI. 16 May 2013, 12:45 PM, PDT)

Locarno fest honors Jia Zhang-ke
 (From The Hollywood Reporter. 8 June 2010, 5:00 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Indie Filmmaking with a Social Conscience See more (16 total) »


  (in credits order)
Wei Wei Zhao ... Bin Bin
Qiong Wu ... Xiao Ji

Tao Zhao ... Qiao Qiao
Qing Feng Zhou ... Yuan Yuan
Hongwei Wang ... Xiao Wu
Ru Bai ... Bin Bin's mother
Xi An Liu ... Xiao Ji's father
Shou Lin Xu ... Sister Zhu
Ren Ai Jun ... Hairdresser
Dao Xiao ... Mr. Ren
Zi Ying ... Concubine
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Zhubin Li ... Qiao San
Ai Jun Ren ... The Hairdresser
Limin Wang ... The Karaoke Customer (as Wang Li Min)

Zhangke Jia ... Man singing in street (uncredited)
Juan Antonio Samaranch ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Zhangke Jia  (as ZhangKe Jia)
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Zhangke Jia 

Produced by
Keung Chow .... associate producer
Shôzô Ichiyama .... producer (as Shozo Ichiyama)
Kit Ming Li .... producer
Masayuki Mori .... executive producer
Fumiko Osaka .... associate producer
Hengameh Panahi .... executive producer
Yuji Sadai .... co-producer
Paul Yi .... executive producer
Nelson Yu Lik-wai .... associate producer
Cinematography by
Nelson Yu Lik-wai  (as Lik Wai Yu)
Film Editing by
Keung Chow 
Production Design by
Jing Dong Liang 
Art Direction by
Jing Dong Liang 
Sound Department
Bing Han .... sound editor
Yang Zhang .... sound
Editorial Department
Serge Anthony .... color grader

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Ren xiao yao" - South Korea (original title)
See more »
France:113 min (Cannes Film Festival) | Japan:112 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Mandarin title refers to a song by Richie RenSee more »
Movie Connections:


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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful.
Indie Filmmaking with a Social Conscience, 8 November 2002
Author: kmethi from London

Unknown Pleasures is the first Jia Zhang Ke film that I have seen and it is excellent. The setting is a town in the north of China, but it could be anywhere in the developing world - India, Argentina or South Africa, for example - where neo liberal economic policies have benefitted the urban elite, but created dislocation for millions of others. The director undoubtedly has a deep social conscience.

The film focuses on several young people, members of China's "new new" generation. As the films progresses, we see what the new world order offers them - US currency, American pop culture, the 2008 Olympics, new super highways - contrasted with the reality - few opportunities for young people, laid off state factory workers and a general degradation of moral values. The message is clear: the new world order offers common people everything in return for giving up traditional ways of life, but actually delivers little of substance. As Bin Bin puts it when he finds out that his girlfriend is going to Beijing to study international trade: "WTO is nothing. Just a trick to make some cash."

The social realist style - it has a bit of a documentary look to it - and the pop song which the film is named after and which features prominently in it (Ren Xiao Yao - the lyrics speak about youth alienation, particularly a desire for freedom and pleasure) also provide a cutting edge look and feel. The song is emotive and will strike a chord with those who like explorations of youth alienation.

However, the film, as befits the political and artistic climate in China, is very subtle and understated, and may escape those who have little knowledge of current affairs in China or an insensitivity to the economic and social dislocation that is taking place outside the big cities (this is not a good date movie for the corporate Western expat and his urban Chinese girlfriend who measure progress by the number of new condos and Western restaurants in Shanghai).

This is great indie filmmaking, though, and I would particularly recommend it to socially and politically aware twenty and thirtysomethings who like artistic expression that is intelligent, socially conscientious and cutting edge.

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