Release year: 2006
Run time: 105 mins
Film type: Drama
Many independent Chinese productions in recent years can be labelled as ‘cinema of loss’. High points in this ‘genre’ that reflect on what has been lost in lifestyle and environment by the ‘great changes’ can be found in the form of films such as those by Jia Zhang-ke. They investigate what happens to space now the country has been turned upside down. Characters are often country dwellers who move to the huge cities, where family bonds disappear and are replaced by totally different social structures. Mayi, the protagonist in this strikingly stylised debut, is also such a new urban dweller. He works as a removals man for a company belonging to a relative. In his spare time, he drinks and plays cards with his colleagues. At a certain point he sees an opportunity to find his way into the immediate vicinity of the beautiful Hudie and his obsession won't stop when it becomes clear that she receives a lot of male visitors. His desires and ambitions put him on the path of minor white lies, with dramatic consequences. The story, in which echoes of Kieslowski’s A Short Story About Love can be seen, is set at the time of the so-called Sars panic. Actor Mai Zi, who was also responsible for the music, gives shape to a fascinating hero who is reminiscent of silent film - just like the manipulated images that suggest his world is shrouded in darkness.
Wang Liren, born in 1970 in Fujian, is an independent filmmaker. He studied at Beijing Institute of Information Engineering, Beijing Film Academy and Peking University. He has been actively involved in Chinese independent film production for many years. In 2001, he and independent film directors Ding Jiancheng and Zhang Meng advocated the establishment of October Film Creation Society.