Weng's stylish début film is situated in the southeastern Chinese coastal province of Fujian were all facets of the modern China can be found 25 years after the start of the 'Open Door' policy. Many men earn money abroad, while there espouses left behind get very bored in spacious new districts. In the neon bathed centres of the rapidly growing towns, international crime is rife.
Fujian Blue was shot on film and that in itself is enough to signal Weng's ambitions in this age of digital independent productions. The result provides a glimpse of the effects of globalisation on China's youth that cannot be compared with any other recent film. The film is made up of two stories that partly overlap. The first, The Neon Knights, is set in Fuqing and focuses on a teenage gang led by 'Roppongi' and 'America' (the nicknames are referring to their fathers' whereabouts), who finance their wild nights out and their urge to consume by blackmailing 'remittance widows' having affairs. It starts getting complicated when they home in on America's mother, a devout Christian as well as a sidekick to human smugglers. The much more subdued second part, At Home at Sea, is set in a poor fishing village where Dragon, one of the gang members, has gone into hiding. While the gang gave him a valuable suitcase to look after, he tries to help his family and get himself smuggled out of the country. (GT)