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EA Movie Review: The World

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EA Movie Review: The World

East Asian Film: Chinese Film: The World by Jia Zhangke
The movie I watched was a drama based in Beijing that followed the lives of two amusement park workers Tieshen the head security guard and Tao one of the stage performers, who had a long term relationship. This movie had a lot of the elements of Chinese films discussed in class. For example I noticed the stage productions were stage and filmed in the opera style with stylized movements of the actors as well as the flamboyant costumes worn by the stage performers.
This film was set in modern China, and I noticed a lot of the changes present that we discussed in class. Like the growth in the telecommunications business in China, everyone in the movie had a cell phone and used them. I noticed lots of cranes for construction in the background of scenes as well. One thing that did surprise me was the settle references to China’s Communist government. In one of the travel scenes they showed the entrance to the Forbidden City with a picture of Chairman Mao hanging there. There was no reference to the communist government or party made by the actors. The only other presence of government officials is when a security guard with a gambling problem is arrested for theft.
Another element of Chinese Cinema that surprised me was the wholesome image of China that was presented. Whenever there was an unsavory action shown, they were performed by foreigners. For example a Russian woman who had migrated for work was beaten and forced into prostitution by another Russian not a Chinese person, I thought that imagery was interesting because of the few foreigners present in the movie. The element of the film that made the biggest impression was the illusionary aspect of the film. All the actors spoke of the dreams of “making it” in the big city Beijing. This was different than Western made movies because neither of the main character “made it “only a couple of secondary actors achieved their goals. The main actors worked hard to make it but died tragically in the end.
One last element of Chinese film make that was present through the whole movie was the reverence for family. When one of the city immigrants died in a work accident the first thing Tienshen said was “how will we tell his family”? In another scene, another city immigrant developed a gambling dept that needed to be paid. Although disappointed and angry about the situation his sister and brother contributed what they could to help pay it. Another example of reverence for family was when the dead worker’s family arrived in Beijing the construction company compensated the family for their loss without any debate or discussion. Overall the film The World was entertaining but slow, in regards to classroom usage I would not recommend it, this is a film I consider to be strictly entertainment.