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 »
A cook living in Beijing, whose employment is coming to an end, plans to return home to his rural village for the New Year. He approaches several of his old friends, also working in the ... See full summary »
China's greatest living filmmaker Jia Zhangke (Platform, The World) travels with acclaimed painter Liu Xiaodong from China to Thailand as they meet everyday workers in the throes of social ... See full summary »
An ancestral city; through its delicious botanical garden and its branched canals, we observe the clues and traces of its ancient culture. Two couples of men and women, former lovers, meet ... See full summary »
"The World" is a theme park on the outskirts of Beijing, sixteen kilometers from the Chinese capital, designed around scaled representations of the world's famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa.The site is seen here not from the visitors' point of view but through the eyes of a few of its staff, lonely people, communicating poorly, a bit disillusioned with life, glittering for the tourists but dull and restricted as far as they are concerned. We meet, among others, pretty young dancer Tao and Taisheng, a security guard who is fond of her but not of personal commitment...Written by
Visa d'exploitation en France : # 111851. See more »
[wedding guests propose a toast]
In honor of? History's great beauties... Yang Guifei, Pan Jinlian, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna! and all the beauties! For which cause? World peace, women's rights and faces without freckles!
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"The World" is set in the tacky eponymous Beijing theme park and details the lives of the alienated young workers who are spiritually and physically trapped there. It's a subtle, delicate, yet powerful film with a directing style that can best described as artfully unobtrusive. The young director/writer is a master of composition, camera movement and sound. Some of the scenes unspool without editing for several minutes, the camera mostly still, sometimes moving with the action but never on the whim of the filmmaker. Sound and dialogue occur off-screen in a way that reminds one of the great Japanese director Ozu. (Indeed, one of the film's inter-titled chapters is called "Tokyo Story".
One of the best examples of this style is a grimy hotel room scene between the lead couple in which very little happens--an attempted seduction, but no sex--that is so authentic it feels almost voyeuristic to watch. In another scene, a father counts and pockets four stacks of money bestowed to him by the authorities for the accidental death of his son, his face an expressionless mask that hides more pain than could ever be shown. In an opening scene the camera tracks a female dancer running through a theatre backstage, pleading for a band aid she will never get--thus slyly presaging the untreatable tragedies that will eventually unfold.
The central characters are so alone, alienated and unable to communicate in any meaningful way--much of the dialogue is spoken into the ubiquitous cellphones--that the closest any two people come together are two woman--one Chinese, the other Russian--who don't speak a word of each other's language.
This is the best kind of social commentary a film can offer, images that show and don't tell. At times it feels plodding--especially the last half hour--some of the characters could use more development, and the animated cellphone sequences seem unnecessary and distracting. But the depiction of contemporary urban China's deepening social malaise--the result of far too rapid urbanization and unchecked Westernization--is troubling enough to make one fear the country's--and the world's--future.
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