• One of the leading names in 6th generation Chinese cinema—5th generation is Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaigie. 5th generation films tended to be set historically or mythical but the 6th generation, Zhangke Jia included tend to be more grounded in reality
  • Rated #448 all-time on TSPDT
  • The political/cultural impact on a small town in rural China
  • Deliberately paced
  • Repeated scenes of authority figures or elders lecturing the youth and arguments coming from it
  • A few very nice mountain landscapes but the most rewarding aspect of the film, by far, is the reoccurring long or medium long shots of characters in the foreground (or distance actually) with large brick building or architectural structures as the backdrop. They aren’t ruins, like Rossellini, but many are falling apart. It’s just wonderful style and film form and it’s the sort of film I can’t wait to see again because the impact of these shots, even the awareness of it (most critics don’t know what the hell they’re talking about) is accumulating- it was 40 minutes in before I realized this is what Zhangke Jia was doing
  • Follows a 4-some mostly and their families- teens or young people who are in a “cultural team” or a small group
  • Very autobiographical and that authenticity comes through- Fenyang is the actual town where Zhangke Jia grew up
  • Live music throughout—8 or 10 scenes of songs
  • Cultural clash throughout – not violent or anything it’s just there. We have city vs rural, modern vs. classic, movies (several scenes of the group watching or going to the movies), perms, bell bottoms
  • Reminded me a little of Fellini’s I Vitelloni except here we have two females and two males in a group—not a pack of young men
  • It’s telling that there’s a fist fight here in this long, meditatively paced film, and Zhangke Jia doesn’t show it
  • I thought of Antonioni’s red desert often—and it was sad—these characters usually don’t bond (they are actually two stories of unrequited love in it) or find much to hold on to
  • Mao in posters in the mise-en-scene quite often
  • Set in 1980 which is a look back, since the movie was made in 2000, at the 20 year promise of modernity to a generation
  • A meditation on modernity in China
  • Jia, with his choreographed wide-screen long takes in long shot, may be the best cinematic composer of figures in landscapes since Michelangelo Antonioni. And as with Antonioni, the disconnections count more than the connections.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, 2005
  • Sad scenes with a rural cousin with no future- coal miner, can’t read
  • All medium and long shots as we slowly absorb these characters, culture, and gorgeous rusticated building set pieces
  • Highly Recommend/ Must-See Border