The Days

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this depressing black-and-white underground feature by Wang Xiaoshuai (1993) about two alienated young Beijing artists is how Western most of its reference points seem to be—not only Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis playing in their apartment, but an overall arty style of filmmaking that resembles American independent work of the 60s. These marginal characters, whose minimal story is narrated in third person offscreen, often seem as tired of their own lives as they are of each other, and after a while the viewer is likely to feel they should be (one may be reminded of Jarmusch without the wit). Yet as a glimpse of contemporary Chinese life, this feature is undeniably fascinating. With Yu Hong and Liu Xiaodong.

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