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on 21 May 2003
Beijing Bicycle is one of the finest films to come out of mainland China for a while. Maybe its not as technically and artistically flawless as many 5th generation films, like 'red lantern' or 'farewell my concubine', but its an undeniably charming and beautiful fairytale, with deep-rooted moral grounding, that will enchant everyone. Zhou Xun is fantastic, as always, and newcomer Li Bin gives an extraordinary performance. Beijing Bicycle proves that there's a bright future for the 6th generation, who thankfully refrain from directing everything at critisising the government and concentrate on pure cinema, and it will be a flagship of its genre.
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on 1 December 2004
This is a very well made, insightful film. Although not without some flaws, this easily outshines some better known films from this region.
Well-paced, great photography, pure cinema.
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VINE VOICEon 1 August 2009
Beijing Bicycle is a story of change and movement in China's fastest growing city and tells the dramatic tale of two very different teenage boys: one a simple peasant lad(Guei),new to the big city; and the other a lower middle-class upwardly mobile schoolboy(Jian). Guei is shown taking on a new job as a bike courier and he is loaned a brand new mountain bike which he has to pay for (700 yuan) over a month when it
then becomes his.This gives him pride of ownership and also represents his company's image of efficiency to the world. The two boys paths cross in an unexpected way when Guei suspects Jian of stealing his bicycle(which he desperately needs to do his job as a bicycle messenger). Jian has stolen money from his father to buy the bike his father promised him and bought the stolen bike in the market-place.He also wants to keep up with his schoolmates and is using his bike as a status symbol to help him pull girls.Guei has lost his job due to the stolen bike and can only go back if he finds it. However without a job he would have to return to rural poverty.Wang moves his characters between different parts of the quickly-changing city,between old and new,traditional and modern,as well as from the stable,ordered world of planned communism to the hustle and bustle of competitive capitalism. Wang seems to be empathetic to the economic migrant's plight. He contrasts the old alleyways of old Beijing with the new skyscrapers. The city becomes the subject explored as a symbol of chaotic change, it also becomes the instrument to criticise contemporary state policies and sociological changes and highlight the political issues of contemporary China. There are some nostalgic feelings for traditional values and systems. This is a film about motion from country to city and motion along streets and alleys, in the city and among its inhabitants. Wang explores movements between physical locations but also the changes and movements within his characters' social and personal lives. There are many fights,chases, possessions and repossessions and a good view of modern Beijing, which you can glimpse as you glimpse Iran in 10. An interesting view of one of the 6th generation of Chinese directors
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on 21 January 2006
Although an admirer of Asian cinema (particularly Korean), to be honest I didn't really understand this film. Perhaps the symbolism of the bicycle simply doesn't translate for a westerner, but it simply seemed like a couple of pig-headed guys fighting over a bicycle while failing to communicate with the women in their lives (the fact that the women barely spoke didn't help matters). The film had some good comic moments (at least I thought they were comic), but the ending was oddly depressing rather than moving. At least the whole thing was bizarre enough to be memorable, which is always a plus-point in my book.
I hope I'm not being too rude if I suggest that the movie could safely be renamed "Two Stubborn Fatheads And A Mountain Bike" ...
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on 28 November 2015
A really touching film, which is well suited for Chinese A Level, Pre U and IB teaching. Particularly for the topic of migration in the Pre U culture section. All students (16-18 years old) enjoy this film.
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on 19 July 2016
its a great movie, very well told story. worth a watch if you are a fan on good international movie
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on 3 May 2007
I really hope that this film doesn't represent Chinese society at the moment. We are presented with too many uncaring folks who sit by and watch as teenagers are beyond cruel and uncaring to one another. Beating each other up almost to the point of death over a bicycle. I'm a mother of a 17 year old and I found this film difficult to take in. A very draining experience indeed !!!
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