Xiao Wu (1998)

Unrated   |    |  Drama

Xiao Wu (1998) Poster

A small town pickpocket whose friends have moved on to higher trades finds himself bitter and unable to adapt.


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20 June 2002 | cd1793
| Realistic depiction of chinese small-towners
Xiaowu is an average young man in a typical small town in China. He is shy, stubborn, values friendship, sometimes vanity-driven, sometimes even romantic. And he is a pick-pocket.

It is surprising that although hundreds of millions of people lead their lives like xiaowu, "Xiao Wu" is the first candid depiction of their life in the many years of chinese filmmaking. I was particularly struck by the camera's honesty: run-down buildings along littered streets, filthy public bath places, hidden brothels camouflaged as karaoke shops...

As the country opens up for economical changes, some people have "their own ways" to take advantage of the change and became rich, while the rest struggle to make a living. The film provided vivid portraits of people you probably know or have heard of: the former pick-pocket buddy of xiaowu who became a famous entrepreneur and grew ashamed of having a friend who picks pockets; the girl who works at a Karaoke but tells her mom that she's at school, who dreams of becoming a star and fell in love with xiaowu but eventually "contracted" herself to a rich man from Shan Xi...

Even if you are not particularly interested in the setting of the film, the universal conflict of dignity and making a living, vanity and friendship, dream and reality, makes this film very interesting to watch.

Bravo, Jia ZhangKe! I give this film a 10/10 for being the first of a genre that will shine in chinese cinema.

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