Tang Daxing, paroled after seven years in jail for brawling over his high school sweetheart Xiaohui, hopes to find legitimate work so they can finally marry -- but the reappearance of an ... See full summary »
Go see Manhole! (Jing gai'er). Manhole is a story about being confronted with China's rapid change. Tang Daxing, the main character, has just been released from prison after serving 7 years for a fight (he was protecting his girlfriend, the lounge singer Xiao Hui (Artfully played by Ning Jing.) Daxing is confronted by the fact that China has changed dramatically since his incarceration. He needs money to start a life and a family with his girlfriend but he has no skills applicable to China's new economy. Will his "therapy" meetings with a local, thoughtful cop who is responsible for his parole (director Zhao Baogang) stop him from the temptation of robbing the wealthy businessman who might marry his girlfriend?
Manhole deals with a number of issues important in high growth China. However, what is most impressive is how Chen Daming weaves the story. His interaction and mixing of characters is more indicative of Guy Ritchie and Quentin Terrantino influences than the art houses films of China. Finally, a Chinese film has arrived with flair, fast pacing, good editing, and glib dialogue. This promising feature is Chen's first film and, going forward, we should expect greater things from this young director who is heralding the beginning of a new generation of filmmakers. If you are going to see one Chinese film this year, go see Manhole!