The young director Yang Heng himself comes from the far corner of China where he shot very cheaply the prize-winning Betelnut. That is not really surprising, because the power of Betelnut is the authentic precision with which picture, mood and characters cooperate.
The basis isn't new: a couple of young people who spend a summer by the river have the illusion that life hasn't really started yet and that everything is still possible. In the sultry heat, Ali and Xiao Yu don't really behave like model citizens. They steal mopeds, extort money from children and become involved in pointless fights. And they are of course interested in girls; and they seem to have a preference for girls with a boyfriend.
There isn't much dynamism or hope for these young people. It is probably the girls who will succeed in escaping to the big city, to another life. Ali and Xiao Yu will always stay there in the countryside. This overwhelming realisation gives the film an enormous tranquillity, one that is also seen in the cinematography. Where the sound occasionally betrays the ultra-low budget origins, the framing, the rhythm and the wonderful cast make up for it. This is nothing-happens film is very alive. ‘The bloom of youth is like the betelnut spit in the street after chewing.’ (GT)

Director
Yang Heng
Country of production
China
Production Year
2006
Festival Edition
IFFR 2007
Length
114'
Medium
DV cam PAL
Language
Mandarin
Producer
Zhu Rikun
Production Company
Fanhall Films
Sales
Fanhall Films
Screenplay
Yang Heng
Cinematography
Yang Heng
Editor
Tian Kun
Music
Wu Jun
Cast
Tian Li, Liang Yu