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Beijing Taxi (2010)

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Three taxi drivers connect a morphing cityscape and a lyrical journey through Beijing as the city undergoes a profound transformational arch.



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BEIJING TAXI is a feature-length documentary that vividly portrays the ancient capital of China undergoing a profound transformation. The intimate lives of three taxi drivers are seen through a humanistic lens as they navigate a quickly morphing city, confronting modern issues and changing values. The three protagonists radiate a warm sense of humanity despite the struggles that each faces in adapting to new realities of life in the modern city. With stunning imagery of Beijing and a contemporary score rich in atmosphere, BEIJING TAXI communicates a visceral sense of the common citizens' persistent attempts to grasp the elusive. The 2008 Summer Olympic Games serve as the backdrop for BEIJING TAXI's story, a coming out party for a rising nation and a metaphor for Chinese society and its struggles to reconcile enormous contradictions while adjusting to a new capitalist system that can seem foreign to some in the Communist-ruled and educated society. Candid and perceptive in its filming ... Written by Miao Wang

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Release Date:

25 June 2011 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

A Powerful Uncensored Portrait of the Struggles of Ordinary Chinese Taxi Drivers
17 March 2010 | by (Austin, TX, United States) – See all my reviews

Beijing Taxi, which had its World Premiere at SXSW in Austin, TX, provides the viewer with something that is all too rare – an uncensored look at the transformations occurring on the ground in China today. The Chinese-American director Miao Wang provides a sensitive humanistic portrait through the eyes of 3 ordinary Chinese taxi drivers from different generations and backgrounds. She lets them tell the story of modern urban China in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The filming is quite beautiful as it shows the new structures that are rising up to replace the older traditional Beijing that is being bulldozed by government fiat.

The Olympics was an opportunity for this authoritarian regime to sell its propagandistic version of an ultramodern China to the world. But most Chinese have not yet experienced the fantasy painted for the world by their government. In Beijing Taxi, one sees the struggles of ordinary people dealing with issues of economic hardships, lack of education, and access to health care in a fast-changing society. In many ways the economic struggles of the average working class person in China are very much like that of the average working class person in the United States. This is the type of film that can help Americans relate to a changing China on a human level a lot better than all of the Olympic propaganda sold to Western audiences by the Chinese government. The film deserves a wider audience.

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