Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lost in Beijing Movie Review

Lost in Beijing, is a controversial film made in 2006 by Chinese director Li Yu, which is now banned in China. The director and producer, Fang Li, have also been prohibited from film-making for two years.



Lost in Beijing


The movie, which is known as Apple in China, is the director's third feature after Fish and Elephant (2001), a lesbian romance story between a Beijing Zoo elephant keeper and a fashion designer and Dam Street (2005), a gritty social drama, set in a small town, and focusing on the relationship of a socially-ostracized woman and a 10-year-old boy.

The plot of Lost in Beijing, as the title suggests, sees the main characters, none of them from the city, struggling to adapt to the new social and economic realities in the capital.

The storyline of the sexually-explicit movie supposedly came to the director while she was working as a news anchor and involves the twisted relationships of a pair of contrasting husband and wife couples. Young, poor migrant couple Liu Pingguo, played by Fan Bingbing (Flashpoint), and her husband, An Kun (Tong Dawei) and the rich city slickers Lin Dong, played by Tony Leung Ka Fai (Lust, Caution, The Lover) and his wife, Wang Mei (Elaine Jin People's Hero) are brought together in a web of sex, rape and exploitation.

Fish and Elephant
The film is a raw social satire and explores the themes of dislocation and mutual exploitation as Liu Pingguo is raped by her massage-parlor boss Lin Dong as window-cleaner husband An watches in shock from outside. Lin Dong is in turn blackmailed by the aggrevied husband An Kun, who is himself seduced by Wang Mei, as he seeks compensation for his "suffering".

Lost in Beijing premiered at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival and has been shown in Thailand (2007 Bangkok International Film Festival), Hong Kong and the USA.

The director Li Yu was born in 1973 in Shangdong Province in Northern China and began work as a TV host for local television. In Beijing she has worked on documentaries for CCTV's (China Central Television) feature program Life Space.

Li sold her house to finance her first film and her own struggles in the male-dominated media are mirrored by the female characters in her movies.

Of the characters in Lost in Beijing, Li says: "They are like me: people who are lost in the city's conflicting new morality and are thrust together through chance circumstances." Li added, "As a Chinese director, I am responsible for recording the new era. I want people to feel the pulse of Beijing that is undergoing sweeping changes."

Read more about Lost in Beijing

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