In the absence of Lou's previous features Weekend Lover and Don't Be Young, this serves to introduce one of the smartest talents in current Chinese cinema. Mardar (Jia) is a motorcycle courier hired by a black marketeer to keep his daughter Moudan (Zhou) out of the way for several hours each day. The boy starts to fall for the flirtatious girl, but agrees regardless to join a plot to kidnap and hold her to ransom. Moudan is so upset by his betrayal that she throws herself into Suzhou Creek and apparently drowns. Several years in jail later, Mardar returns to the mean streets of Shanghai and encounters Meimei (also played by Zhou), a dead ringer for Moudan, who does a mermaid act in a nightclub. This riff on themes and motifs from Vertigo, underpinned by a score which half-echoes Bernard Herrmann, is recounted by an unseen narrator - Lou himself? - who claims to be Meimei's ex-lover. Terrific.
Cast and crew