The Journey with Jesus: Film Reviews

Film Reviews by Dan Clendenin

Unknown Pleasures (2002) — China Unknown Pleasures (2002) — China

Bin Bin and Xiao Ji are nineteen-year-old best friends who are deeply alienated from society. It's hard to blame them. Chinese film maker Zhang Ke Jia situates this movie in the remote Shanxi province near Mongolia. Drab browns and grays are the color of Communist China in this dreary textile town. People live in dilapidated apartments. Both boys chain smoke, are broke, unemployed, and in relationships with women that are destined to go nowhere. Bin Bin loves a girl who has passed her exams and is off to study international finance at the university. Xiao is infatuated with Qiao, a promo poster girl for "Mongolian King Liquor." Both boys fail at sexual opportunity. Bin Bin can't even join the army to be a "Beijing soldier" because a routine test reveals that he has hepatitis. In the final minutes a last act of desperation fails, after which Xiao's motorcycle runs out of gas on a rainy highway. All of the pleasures of life, both real and imagined, are unknown to these two kids. In Mandarin with English subtitles.