Good Morning, Beijing | Chicago Reader

Good Morning, Beijing

Zhang Nuanxin?s 1990 feature helped to usher in a movement of urban realism in Chinese cinema: its main characters, a young woman and two young men who work on a bus, are vaguely discontented, adrift in a society that?s contemptuous of the old ways and easily seduced by Western materialism. Most of the film?s situations are as old as Murnau's Sunrise (the corruption of naive youth by city slickers, etc), but Zhang uses the bus route to explore the low-rent enclaves of Beijing, taking us into ancient alleys and crowded, dilapidated homes. Though the drama never achieves the compassion of the Italian neorealists or the poetry of Bresson's studies of disenchanted Parisian youth, it does offer a compelling honesty all its own.

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