Yao a yao, yao dao waipo qiao

  • 108'
  • China
  • 1995
In 1930 a fourteen-year-old country boy, Shuisheng, arrives in Shanghai. His uncle Liu sents him to the city expecting the boy to move in with a relative, Tang. However he turns out to be an important gangster boss of the Triads. The boy is confronted with the shadow world of nightclubs, black-market trade and prostitution and gets a job with the lover of the gangster boss, the famous nightclub singer Xiao Jinbao (a role played by Gong Li). She looks arrogant and controlled to the outside world, but her frustrations often lead to childish and violent outbursts. Shuisheng is a witness to her stormy affair with the number two in the organisation, the handsome and ambitious Song. When one night Tang's house is attacked, the gangster boss moves in with Xiao, the boy and a few trusty subjects in the countryside. Shanghai Triad is the seventh film on which Zhang Yimou and Gong Li have cooperated and it escapes the clichés of the gangster film thanks to the perspective of the boy and Zhangs unequalled feeling for mood, detail and colour. In this greatest of stories, the director has not concentrated on the violence, but on the generosity of the characters, as an optimistic message for the world we live in.
Zhang Yimou
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 1996
International title
Shanghai Triad
Local Distributor
Universal Pictures Benelux