2004. China/Japan/France. Jia Zhangke. 143 min.
Sunday, March 14, 2010, 2:00 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
2004. China/Japan/France. Directed by Jia Zhangke. With Zhao Tao, Chen Taisheng, Jing Jue. Fake landscapes contain real problems in this epic postmodern parable about China’s cultural renovation. A Las Vegas–style theme park on the outskirts of Beijing is the setting for a sort of backstage musical in which the personal dramas of a group of youthful employees play out against a background of small-scale replicas of the Eiffel Tower, the World Trade Center, and other famous landmarks. Jia’s beautifully choreographed wide-screen shots capture kitschy shows held in “national pavilions” that demonstrate the park’s motto: “See the world without ever leaving Beijing.” This ravishing portrait of a delusional China illustrates the difficulty of maintaining interpersonal relationships in a cultural wasteland. In Mandarin, Shanxi, Russian; English subtitles. 143 min.