After the fine films "For Fun" and "On the Beat" Ning Ying moved into a more untraditional storytelling for her third feature. " I Love Beijing" follows a cab driver through his relationships with different women and gives us a feel for life in the city circa 2000. The dynamic between men and women is well expressed as is the undercurrent of rural vs citylife. Not as successful as her previous features but fair.
Gritty portrait of Beijing just over a decade ago. The endless accumulation of concrete contrasted with the main character's foolish search for some love or tenderness. But by the end of the movie his heart is as stony as the concrete jungle around him. Not a great masterpiece but it shows something of the emptiness of life in China.
Why did I not hear about Ning Ying until Mubi started showing her works? I can tell from this film alone that she is a major talent. "I Love Beijing" didn't age well, though - it looks and sounds hopelessly 90's, but its heart and soul shines through. It is indeed gritty, and rings true with authenticity. Highly recommended.
Not a perfect film, but a truly fascinating, yet unpretentious (despite the title) portrait of a city. I discovered this on Mubi while scrolling Chinese films from my PS3 – and watched it without knowing anything about either the film or the director. So all in all a pleasant discovery – very glad I've watched this before visiting Beijing for the first time in my life.