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I expected to see a light comedy along the lines of the da Sica original, which was that bittersweet kind of film typical of the period. The Chinese version now has discarded much of the light moments and the funny elements of the original: The story of the guy from the countryside who comes to Beijing, wears a sceptical face even at the beginning and gets confirmation by his environment that the scepticism is justified. He is rejected as a peasant, his job as a bike courier hangs on very thin threads, and the lack of morale around him even threatens his existence when his working instrument (his bike) gets stolen – an experience every Beijingren is quite familiar with.

The film is cruel, it shows a world where stealing and stealing back is the modus operandi, and the author is clearly eager to show that today’s China, even though it brings about wealth for quite a few, throroughly lacks the humanity that is of such vital importance especially in this kind of overpopulated place.

In contrast to many ambitious films coming out of the Chinese studios, this one is prefoessionally produced and well shot, well-paced and an easy-to-swallow piece of arthouse cinema.

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