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Shower  [1999]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2012
Haunting, deeply moving and often comic, Yang Zhang's 'Shower' tells the tale of Da Ming (Cunxin Pu), a businessman living in the cosmopolitan south, who returns North to visit his father after misinterpreting a card from his mentally-ill brother Er Ming, which he assumes to be an illustration of his father's death. Da Ming seems initially disinterested in the customs of the traditional bathhouse his father and brother run, but slowly he becomes entranced by the lifestyle and customs of the bathhouse, and when tragedy strikes, Da Ming finds himself caught between his childhood home, and his metropolitan lifestyle and wife back in the south. The film is sumptuously shot, and the dialogue and acting are both naturalistic and excellent (though the film's symbolism moves between the sublime and the slightly too obvious). Zhang's film is superb in its handling of mood - and the troubled, but loving relationship between Da Ming and his Father provide some incredibly poignant and thought-provoking moments. Even Ermine's mental illness, an issue stereotyped and often poorly represented in cinema, is handled with a credible, knowing hand.

There are one or two flaws in 'Shower'. At times the bathhouse scenes run a little long, and begin to drag slightly; and the film takes a bit of time to get into its stride, with its opening very-slowly paced. But 'Shower' is a film which grows on the viewer. The quiet, intelligently observed family dynamic of Da Ming and his father and brother, is very rewarding, and the film mixed sadness and strife with a gentle, witty comedy; sometimes in the same issue, such as in the sexual impotence of one of the bathhouse regulars. 'Shower' is less like the rush, tumble and modern convenience of a shower, and more like the long, slow baths the film depicts; warming, enjoyable, and giving one time to reflect on thoughts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2011
It's a typically modern Chinese flavour for a movie that can please even the uninitiated western public. It captures well the transition that China is undergoing at the moment, with traditional urban social circles leaving space for modernity, with its shopping areas and high rise buildings that encourage isolation. The film illustrates well how areas where people can congregate and share time together are not just recreational but play a key role in keeping a community united by fostering mutual support. The vector of this message is a classic father-son relationship, and the everyday life and characters of an unspecified Beijing hutong (quarter). The movie is never dull, it is somehow predictable but it repays this fact with a good touch of humour and a few moving moments. Well worth a view.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2010
Da Ming is a modern businessman who returns to his childhood home following a long absence after receiving a postcard from his mentally handicapped brother Er Ming, which makes him believe that their father is ill or has even died. Though on arrival he soon finds out his father is very much alive and still running his old business which is the local public bathhouse. The film explores the three-way relationship between Da Ming, his brother and his father, and how he discovers the importance of his father's job, and for the local community how the bathhouse is a central part of their social lives.
It's a beautiful film which conveys a real sense of family and community, and also illustrates a China obsessed with pushing through modernisation at the cost of established core values and many time honoured traditions. Shower is also a superb example of how powerful and captivating simple quality film making can be. There are no flashy effects, no grandiose performances, just a gentle story, naturally told with understated and effective acting. If you're a fan of foreign film then 'Shower' is an absolute must see.
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on 5 August 2013
I loved this film .I thought it was a really sensitive unsentimental portrayal of the clash between old and new China . Great story ,characters both amusing and deeply moving .Would recommend to anyone interested in China or the problems of the traditional verses modernity.
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on 11 May 2013
A lovely little story about a son finding his lost love for his father and his brother, the 1990s Beijing is barely recognisable, fun in itself and to watch the transformations of Chinese society of that period, out with the old, in with the new - but at what cost?
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on 18 September 2014
Brilliant film which challenges the belief that 'success' in career and materialism are the most important things in life.
Heart-warming look at family, tradition and sense of community and belonging...
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on 17 May 2015
This is a real gem of a film. I was surprised that I hadn't heard of this movie before as it was released in 2000. Acting and writing are great too.
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on 21 March 2015
Interesting progression of a son's appreciation for his father.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2012
excellent film, carefully and beautifully put together, although i could sense what would happen throughout the film, its a little obvious at times, i was still happy that the ending happened. recommend this too all eastern film watchers
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on 5 September 2014
great film
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