Heavily indebted to De Sica's The Bicycle Thief, this film is an elegantly simple portrait of how a possession can symbolize larger things. A young messenger, fresh from the country, sets out through the mazelike alleys of Beijing to find his stolen bicycle, the key to his job and future. By a stroke of luck he finds it—as well as the teenage thief for whom it?s meant a new circle of friends and even a girlfriend. Both youths refuse to give up their claim, and they finally agree to use the bike on alternate days—an uneasy detente that can't last. Director Wang Xiaoshuai starts with a straightforward opposition between the messenger and the hardened city teens, then shifts the focus to what they share—an emotional intensity that leads them to treat owning the bike as a matter of life and death. In Mandarin with subtitles. 113 min.