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Unknown Pleasures (2002)

Cast: Zhao Tao, Zhao Wei Wei, Wu Qiong, more...
Director: Jia Zhang-ke
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: New Yorker Video
Genre: Drama, Foreign, China
Running Time: 113 min.
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Synopsis
Unknown Pleasures takes place in China, in the small city of Datong, in 2001, where disaffected teenagers look for any kind of excitement to enliven their dreary existence. Bin Bin (Zhao Wei Wei) dates a quiet student, Yuan Yuan (Zhou Qing Feng) who's thinking of going to university in Beijing. They spend their time together holding hands, watching karaoke and Monkey King videos, and despairing for the future. Bin Bin envies the Monkey King his freedom. Bin Bin has quit his job at a local market, but he doesn't tell his mother (Bai Ru). When she finds out, she wants him to join the army. His less circumspect friend, Xiao Ji (Wu Qiong), stalks a flashy performer, Qiao Qiao (Zhao Tao), who promotes Mongolian King liquor and dates a gangster. The gangster doesn't appreciate Xiao Ji's attentions and slaps him around. Qiao Qiao seems to like him, but as free-spirited as she seems, she's afraid to defy her violent boyfriend. Bin Bin tries selling bootleg DVDs on the street to earn a living. One of his customers, a thug named Xiao Wu (Wang Hong Wei) complains that Bin Bin doesn't carry underground titles like Pickpocket and Platform (writer-director Jia Zhang Ke's previous features), but is pleased to find Pulp Fiction. Inspired by the latter film's opening, Bin Bin and Xiao Ji plot an ill-fated bank robbery. Unknown Pleasures showed in competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and was also selected for the 2002 New York Film Festival. ~ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

All-Around Great Film by JMVerville August 5, 2004 - 12:34 PM PDT
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4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
The story begins with an outline of the mundaneness of the lives and future of two Chinese youths, and progresses into showing in a short amount of time just how much their lives and personal situations change; dealing with unemployment, troublesome lovelives and coming into their own a beautiful story unfolds.

With allusions to the film Pulp Fiction throughout and a recurring song that touches the heart, with solid performances by all of the actors (especially Zhao Tao) it was a very good film. My only criticism is at times the story can be slow. However, overall, a great film my Jia Zhang-ke.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 6.50)
46 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2002
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Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
kraigpdx
Best Current Directors
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lazlo

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