Zhangke Jia: in the third story as a patron of the brothel. He is shown walking down a hallway from behind talking on his cell phone and smoking a cigar. At the end of the shot he turns to survey the line of girls in the hallway. See more »
A Precious but Utterly Vague Picture of the Transforming China
One additional star for the topic that few has tried to film.
In about ten or twenty years, these 120 minutes of social depicting will be one of the very rare and precious visual stories for people to understand and entertain what is going on in the first ten years of the 21st century China. It offers a prospective with some interesting details that makes sense to the westerners or maybe its fellow countrymen in the future. But it doesn't really add up for the people living in China nowadays, or at least, the details are not enough.
Stories are too short that they can barely touch the real psychology that the Chinese laborers are having today. I'm not sure whether it is something that the director fails to do or he is not allowed to do. For example, there are lots of complexities existing between a complaining Shanxi miner and a mad murderer. Throughout the first story, the only real attempt Dahai, who has learned the laws and has close relatives living in the city, has made to disclose the corruption is a mail letter without a specific address. This is far away from the countless efforts that a Chinese miner would make before he explode himself with the illegal riches. To me, the efforts, the struggles, and the final desperate in Dahai's mind are the most interesting parts of the story. However, nothing really happens in the movie. The result is that, Dahai seems more like a legendary cowboy coming from a classic American western movie than a struggling Chinese worker who has relatives to care about.
It touches the social issues we are all witnessing in China today, it is entertaining and somewhat heroic, but it fails to restore the story into reality, let alone into a provoking level.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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