Director In Attendance!
(Miao Wang, 2010, China/USA, DigiBeta, 78 min) In this new documentary, three Beijing taxi driverstwo male, one femaleprepare for an explosion of international customers in the days leading up to the 2008 Summer Olympics. Fifty-something Bai Jiwen came of age during the Cultural Revolution, and faces some harsh realities with hardened humor; Thirty-something Zhou Yi remains optimistically grounded in his traditional lifestyle; and thirty-something mother Wei Caixia is a financially minded go-getter driven on finding a more comfortable life.
Beijing Taxi delivers on multiple levels: As a character study, it offers three real, warm, breathing people, not just connecting us to their hopes and dreams, but also embedding us in the details of daily life in another culture. We're also given a rich character study on another levelnamely the changing character of the massive, complex city of Beijing as it responds to globalization in a uniquely Chinese way. The documentary also serves as a lovely mood piece, with an evocative score and mesmerizing photography (co-shot by Sean Price Williams, of Frownland). Its many charms are quiet and subtle, but not soon forgotten.
"Imagistic, revealing, engrossing" Variety
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