When they are evicted from their apartment in a provincial city in Northern China, a young bar singer and her two male friends rent rooms from a retired opera singer in Peking. The ...
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When they are evicted from their apartment in a provincial city in Northern China, a young bar singer and her two male friends rent rooms from a retired opera singer in Peking. The free-spirited young people chafe against a myriad of rules from their controlling landlady. They retaliate by playing unkind practical jokes on the older woman, who pays them back in kind. Their contest of wills escalates, culminating in a violation of trust by the tenants, but eventually the generations learn from each other and a familial bond is formed between them.
I didn't believe any of the actors made contact with the feelings the characters were supposed to be feeling because everything comes off as an impression, rather than being anything of substance. I don't believe the director had a story to tell, as much as simply having a desire to make a film in this style. The hand-held camera-work didn't bother me, but the framing and composition of shots did. They seemed forced and almost precious, and the actors merely vogued their way through scenes. The story is uninspired. Three young drifters meet a single mom who is still mourning the death of her only son, and they all have an angst competition. That ought to be indie grill. But it's not in this case. It's just shots of people pensively staring off into space, and scenes of people pensively walking around aimlessly while the fog rolls by and the music meanders. Indie film school 101. It was very hard to finish this film because I didn't care about any of the characters. Caring about characters may not be necessary, although the director clearly hoped for it, so I'm going to make up a word to describe my experience and to differentiate it from simply not caring. I discared for the characters.
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