The second independent film by He Jianjun (aka He Yi) marks a new level of achievement for Beijing's seemingly uncrushable independent film-makers. The introverted Xiao Dou is promoted from installing post-boxes to the job of delivering mail when an old postman is arrested for stealing letters. Before long he too is intercepting other people's mail, a habit that makes him privy to their secrets and leads him to make furtive sorties into their lives. He comes to know a woman who was sucked into prostitution when her singing career stalled, a gay junkie pining for his dead lover, and an elderly lover whose son has decided to kill himself. Meanwhile Xiao Dou's relationship with his own sister begins to shift from emotional to sexual intimacy. Nothing here can be reduced to symbolism or allegory, but the Dekalog-like story yields any number of provocative implications for Chinese urban society in the 1990s. The core issues here are privacy (a concept so alien it's hard to express in Chinese) and the way that people's inner lives remain beyond the reach of even the most rigorous state control.
You Ni, He Yi
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