Nowhere has the advance of new digital forms of film-making made more impact than in China. There is a new generation emerging, stimulated by the example of Jia Zhang-ke and his willingness to shoot and work unofficially, 'underground'. Last year's Tiger Competition featured the example of Welcome to Destination Shanghai, and in the Main Programme this year are another examples from the now flourishing regional cinema: The Only Sons and On the Mountain.Diao Yinan's début feature is in the gritty, new realist style - and subject - often typical of this new direction. Set in an industrial city in a remote part of China, it focuses on a young man earning a modest income in a laundry while trying to get his sick father's pension from the closed down factory. A policeman's uniform remains unclaimed at the laundry and one day he tries it on. He discovers he can get away posing as a policeman, and he likes his new power. It helps him pick up a girl in the record store, he can generate extra cash from small time bribes.In deceptively simple but resonant images and using a restrained amount of dialogue, Diao effortlessly and convincingly evokes the world of his lumpen anti-hero, following him towards his almost inevitable downfall and setting him against the backdrop of a China we rarely see. [S.F.]

Original title
Zhifu
Filmmaker
Diao Yi'nan
Premiere
European premiere
Country
China, Japan
Year
2003
Medium
Betacam Digi PAL
Length
94’
Language
Mandarin
Producer
Hu Tong Communication, Li Kit Ming
Sales
Ying E Chi Limited
Editor
Chow Keung
Sound Design
Zhang Yang