Xiao Wu is a small town pickpocket, drowning in his troubles and his love affair with a local hostess. After an epiphany he decides to break free from his criminal life, but how? The debut film of acclaimed director Jia Zhangke (The World).
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A series of events in the day to day life of a petty criminal.Yes,he is self absorbed,but there are scenes about keeping one's dignity while trying to survive.Especially,when friends reject him and he is unable to do anything about it.
The final scene is absolute payoff. You can see how the director was heavily influenced by European new wave directors. But his content, his writing, his picture is totally his own.
Only remnants of what is seen in this film can still be witnessed in China today - merely 20 years later. Watch this for an eerily candid view of China before it became the powerhouse as we know it today.
what i find extraordinary about jia zhangke's cinema is the ability to tell small, provincial stories of characters that happen to be, despite themselves, in the middle of momentous changes in the history and culture of China: the lack of identity, the sense of loss, the cultural displacement with western models and, above all, the violence, the disregard of a political system only able to exploit its own people.
My second Jia Zhangke. Similar slow style as in Still Life and a similar passive main character. Found it a bit longish, but that did not bother because there are some extraordinary beautifully shot sequences, for example the one in the karaoke bar with his love interest. Also I really missed the magical stuff from the later films (the rocketship in Still Life). This one here is a more strict neo-realism.