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i love beijing 夏日暖洋洋

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clay dube
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i love beijing 夏日暖洋洋

The Chinese title of this film is something along the the lines of "Warmer Summer." Unlike most cases where the Chinese and English titles differ, in this instance it's the English title, I Love Beijing, that was the filmmaker's first choice. Authorities thought the title might be satirical and required that the Chinese title be changed. The director was a student along with the likes of Zhang Yimou and subsequently worked with Bertolucci on The Last Emperor. Ning Ying's sister co-wrote the screenplay.

This is a remarkable look at Beijing in the years leading to the giant party that was the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In this 2000 film, the entire city seems to be a construction site. Changing attitudes toward marriage and sex are very much on display here. I happened to watch this film (thank you Netflix) in close proximity to Zhang Yimou's latest film, Under the Hawthorn Tree. That film is set in the Cultural Revolution and the contrast in dress, speech, and behavior in the two films is stunning.

I Love Beijing opens in a government marriage/divorce registration office. Dezi, a cab driver, seems to have cheated on his wife, who is anxious to end their marriage. The "amicable" divorce is anything but, with Dezi's mother criticizing Dezi for staying away from home, but blaming and beating his wife -- assuming that she'd been stepping out on her son. Dezi rebounds quickly - his cab makes him a relatively good catch -- and provides his waitress girlfriend Xiaoxue with an apartment. Her relatives soon crowd Dezi out of the place and he drops her. He picks up a librarian, who winds up setting him up with a country wife. Along the way, we see Dezi putting in impossibly long hours, getting cheated and worse by thugs. We see rich young people spending lavishly and other folks scrapping by.

High school and college teachers might use the film to help illustrate the transformation of China's urban culture and the Beijing landscape. Clips could be paired with clips from other films to illustrate changing gender relations and social norms. The cabbies talk about some of this and in talking about cab driving in the past, hint at the amazing transformation of China in the reform era.
edited by Clay Dube on 1/15/2011

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I have always wanted to visit Beijing after seeing how beautiful it seemed during the 2008 Olympic games! This film 'Warmer Summer' sounds very amusing! LOL

Chip B.
Anthem AZ