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電影往事 (2004)
Electric Shadows

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 02/02/2007
Summary: i want outdoor cinemas...

mao dabing (xia yu) is a water delivery boy who lives in beijing. the money he makes is spent on food, rent and going to the cinema. one day, whilst en route to see a film, he crashes into a pile of bricks; before he knows what has happened, he is struck on the head with a brick, by a girl named ling ling (qi zhong-yang).

when dabing comes round, he is in hostital. he heads off to the police station, where he finds ling ling sitting silently. he asks her why she hit him, but her only response is to write him a note, asking him to feed her fish. dabing tries to get an answer from her, but she continues to respond in the same way, eventually giving him the keys to her flat.

dabing, frustrated and confused, takes the keys. when he arrives at ling ling's flat, he finds that it is a shrine of film memorabilia, complete with a projector. he begins to route around, stumbling across ling ling's memoirs: as he begins to read them, he discovers that the he knows ling ling...

this is a really sweet film. sure it's a little sentimental but, if you buy into it, it's a very enjoyable watch. the portrayal of life, growing up, in a small town in china, during the heyday of outdoor cinema, provides a very interesting back-drop to the film. still, the occassional intrusions of party policy and personal tragedy add a bittersweet edge.

the performances the two central characters, ling ling (guan xiao-tong) and xiaobing (wang zheng-jia), as children, are great. guan is super-cute, whilst wang has, what can only be described as, the cheekiest face i've ever seen. jiang yi-hong (lingling's mother, xue hua) and li hai-bin (pan daren, the projectionist and xue hua's love interest) are also solid.

despite its nostalgia, 'electric shadows' manages to be naturalistic and charming.

good stuff.