Elaine Jin

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Lost In Beijing Review


OK
A nervy love-quadrangle story that contains much less than the sum of its attractive parts, Lost in Beijing is just the kind of lost generation film that a country entering the full throes of a yuppie consumer crisis would be expected to make. Unfortunately, the government didn't see its creation as quite so necessary, and purportedly due to some explicit sex scenes ("sensuality" in our own MPAA's parlance), the film was banned in China (though according to Time, plenty of its citizens are watching it online anyway, along with the uncensored version of Lust, Caution) and its makers prohibited from making films on the mainland for two years. It's just as likely, however, that the film was kept from theaters due to its uniformly grim and unromantic view of modern-day China, one that seems to be blazing at full and unreflective speed into an unattractively modern future with nary a glance to the past.

The two couples who make up the majority of this tight-knit film are hardly the kind of entrepreneurs the Chinese government would want to present as the face of the new China. Dong (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) runs a quite successful massage parlor and has a regular assignation with a prostitute while his wife Wang-mei (Elaine Jin) sulks in her splendidly appointed apartment. Ping-guo (Fan Bingbing) works at Dong's parlor as a masseuse; she and her high-rise window-washer husband An-kun (Tong Da Wei) share a grim hole of an apartment that seems par for the course in Beijing. Ping-guo and An-kun seem poor but at least happy with each other; a state of existence that's abruptly shattered when An-kun, after staying out drinking with a friend, stumbles back to the massage parlor and passes out only to wake up and find herself being raped by Dong.

Continue reading: Lost In Beijing Review

Yi Yi Review


Excellent
It wasn't fair. For more than 10 years, Taiwanese director Edward Yang made movies that were runaway hits in Asia and at festivals around the world, but the films weren't released commercially in the United States. With Yi Yi, that's all changed, and the only question now is, "What took so long?"

Nearly everything about Yi Yi is odd and wonderful. The movie revolves around a middle-class family in Taipei struggling with everyday life. The main character is an uptight businessman named NJ whose company faces bankruptcy. His wife is a delicate woman who breaks down when her mother suffers a stroke. The family's youngest member, a precocious 10-year-old boy, is preoccupied with photographing the backs of people's heads. And the boy's sister is a student musician who falls for the wrong guy.

Continue reading: Yi Yi Review

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Yi Yi Movie Review

Yi Yi Movie Review

It wasn't fair. For more than 10 years, Taiwanese director Edward Yang made movies...

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