Wang's first 'above-ground' film is one of the most engrossing docu-dramas ever made. Six Shanghainese (five men, one woman, all naturals) re-enact their real-life experiences of teaming up to run a private interior decorating company after losing jobs in state-owned factories. Their venture has its ups and downs (only a lottery win rescues it from bankruptcy), but it survives to face China's unpredictable economic future. Shooting handheld, using only first takes and jump cutting within scenes, Wang succeeds completely in capturing (a) the character of life in Shanghai, (b) the risks of being an entrepreneur in a near lawless country, and (c) the lure of shortcuts to wealth. He frames the story with brief fictional scenes showing a young couple who operate as con artists and score a lottery win, and ends with comments from the six non-actors about the experience of making the film. Amazing that he pulled this off so fluently, and amazing that the authorities let him get away with it.