You-Zhong (Beijing Flickers) 2012 Ages 18+
1.00PM Sun 20 Jan 2019 (1hr 36mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free
‘Prolific sixth-generation Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yuan returns to the same territory as his first major film, 1993’s Beijing Bastards, with this highly accessible and heartfelt expression of angst and alienation among the city’s less upwardly mobile young adults. Less rough-hewn than his handheld debut, Flickers still captures the disaffection of contemporary Chinese youth, but does so more via the accomplished cinematography and sentiment seen in his later films such as Seventeen Years and Little Red Flowers.
Based on a 2010 video and photography exhibition about young people called “Unspoiled Brats” that Zhang created for Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Flickers follows the urban journeys of the luckless San Bao (Duan Bowen). In a voiceover narration that comes and goes throughout the film, San informs us that his dog, Happiness, has disappeared; his pregnant girlfriend has abandoned him for a wealthier man—”there are more and more rich men these days,” he laments—and he hasn’t uttered a single word in over 100 days.
Shot on Beijing’s fringes, with concrete housing projects towering in the background, piles of brick rubble and dilapidated bridges, Beijing Flickers beautifully captures an overall sense of urban blight. And with its likeable cast of misfits—particularly Duan Bowen’s melancholy San Bao and the effervescent Shi Shi—it’s also a tender look at China’s forgotten—and yet defiant—underclass.’ Screen Daily
HD VIDEO, COLOUR, STEREO, 96 MINUTES, CHINA, MANDARIN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/CINEMATOGRAPHER: ZHANG YUAN / SCRIPT: ZHANG YUAN, KONG ERGOU, LI XINYUN, YANG YISHU / EDITOR: WU YIXIANG / PRODUCTION CO: BEIJING CENTURY GOOD-TIDINGS CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ANGELICA WANG