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Cut off from foreign financing by China's new Film Regulations, Zhang did the smart thing by making this low budget quickie primarily for domestic release. It's his first contemporary urban movie, his first comedy and his first without Gong Li. The great Jiang Wen plays a bookseller who won't accept that his hip young girlfriend has left him for someone richer. The first half details his attempts to confront her (he can't remember which of a thousand identical apartments she lives in); the second his wait with murderous intent in a restaurant, refusing to be pacified by a stranger whose new laptop he has broken. With ultra-mobile handheld camerawork and no pre-blocking of the scenes, Zhang achieves a spontaneity new in his work. But it's Jiang's performance which makes the film astonishing and funny.

Release details

Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Zhang Yimou
Screenwriter: Shu Ping
Cast: Jiang Wen
Li Baotian
Qu Ying
Ge You
Zhang Yimou

Average User Rating

2.5 / 5

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KK

A fun, hip, experimental and extremely watchable urban comedy by Zhang Yimou, but ultimately comes across as rather forgettable, mainly because Zhang seems to be in experimental mode and the film's black comedy lacks the satirical edge it ought to have. Not distributed to the West, so unless you have a Chinese friend who is willing to help you subtitle, chances are you will miss it.