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Platform [DVD]

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  • Actors: Wang Hong-wei, Zhao Tao, Liang Jing-dong, Yang Tian-yi, Wang Bo
  • Directors: Zhangke Jia
  • Producers: Li Kit-ming, Shozo Ichiyama
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Feb. 2003
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000089AR5
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,930 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


The year is 1979 and Minliang, Ruijian and Chang Jun all work as part of the Peasant Culture Group, a theatrical troupe who perform works extolling the achievements of Chairman Mao. Everything begins to change when they are called together and told that state policy now requires them to incorporate Western elements into their performances and also to fend for themselves as a privately-owned outfit without state subsidy. Over the following decade, the personal and romantic problems within the group are played out against a backdrop of rapid cultural transformation, with the troupe - now known as the All-Star Rock and Breakdance Band - struggling to survive as they deal with the problem of ever-dwindling audiences.

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A fellow creature on 1 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
Forget the lush costume dramas and historical martial-arts entertainments that from time to time win over western audiences to the occasional state-approved Chinese film; this is the real deal. Jia Zhang-ke's work can't be seen in China, mainly because it doesn't trade in sugar-coated orientalist fantasy or nationalistic propaganda. Rather, it charts in brutally honest and deeply affecting fashion his country's transition from a centralised command-and-control economic model to the present system of bizarre market-oriented totalitarian capitalism. And it unflinchingly portrays the human and spiritual costs of this massive cultural and social shift with subtlety and sensitivity. The educated, youthful individuals at the centre of 'Platform' are small-town dreamers, idealists and sympathetic losers whose aspirations and ways of life are mercilessly made over and crushed by the rising tide of Chinese state capitalism. Youthful rebelliousness and market reforms dangle the promises of western-style individualism in front of Jia's characters, but the remorselessness of the system and the dead hand of the parental generation snatch them away. Jia's films show his protagonists unlearning and chafing at the collectivist ethic of traditional communism ("You don't understand collectivism", the theater group leader reprimands the dilatory Cui Minliang early on in 'Platform' before the market reforms kick in). But they reveal that individualism is as empty and alienating as collectivism is stifling. The newly-dominant market and the system of local kleptocracies it spawns now command the unthinking loyalty once demanded by the Party and the communes. This transition is beautifully rendered in 'Platform' in a style which is as original as is the film's subject.Read more ›
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Budge Burgess on 30 Jun. 2005
Format: DVD
Chinese film maker Jia Zhang-ke has attracted much critical attention in the West. His first two films - "Platform" and "Xiao Wu" - contain significant autobiographical elements as they trace the process of change in China. "Platform", Jia's second film, actually charts the earlier period, the decade from 1979-1989 which encompassed his teenage years (he was born in 1970).
The film follows the experience of teenage - itself a journey into uncertainty as the adolescent seeks to escape from a child's identity and establish an adult one, all the time prone to typical complaints, demands, self-doubts, and all-too-familiar angst. Set the experience of adolescence in a China which is, itself, undergoing rapid, radical change and search for a new identity, and the central characters in "Platform" are seen to be confronted with a particularly disorienting and fraught set of experiences.
Set in the claustrophobia of a 'small' town, "Platform" follows a group of young people who are employed in a theatre troupe - initially as part of the regime's propaganda system, but later privatised and forced to create a wholly new repertoire and objectivity. They are distanced from the peasants and industrial workers - even in the clothes they wear (parents and others complain about bellbottom trousers).
There is stark contrast, here, between the expressiveness of young people in the West, or in Japan, and the bland adolescence of the film's characters. The young people are socially and culturally ostracised. They have time to explore, but there lives have been emotionally censored - they seem to lack the portfolio of emotions we are used to in teenagers. This is a tale of liberation without experience or expectation of what liberty might be.
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