Beijing Bastards

Comparing Zhang Yuan’s relatively big-budget independent mainland Chinese feature (1993) about disaffected youth with his previous effortthe more experimental, low-budget Mama, shot on videois almost like comparing Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused with his earlier Slacker. Here you might have more trouble getting into the rock music, but the same sort of seminarrative drift develops between various miniplots. What this film has to say about contemporary Chinese youth certainly has documentary interest, but the originality and power of Mama are not much in evidence. With Cui Jian, Li Wei, and Wu Lala. (JR)

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